Three journalists shot, as Thai Army moves in with force to smash Red Shirts' siege

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Melbourne, May 19 (ANI): Gun battles broke out between the Thailand military and protesters inside the Red Shirts rally base in central Bangkok this morning.

An Associated Press photographer has seen three foreign journalists shot during the army operation in central Bangkok and says one appears dead.

The assault marked the first significant push into the protest zone in the crackdown that began early today. Troops shot at least five people, including a Thai journalist, during the gunfight near the red-shirt protesters' camp, The Age reports.

Four armoured personnel carriers have entered the red-shirt protesters' encampment - where at least five people were shot today in central Bangkok, punching a hole in the tyre-and-bamboo barricades and driving in with troops behind them.

About 100 troops took up positions along the wall of central Lumpini Park and trained their guns inside and the armoured personnel carriers provided cover for the troops, The Age reports.

Soldiers opened fire on medical staff who went to the aid of the shooting victims, witnesses said.

Witnesses saw several wounded protesters being carried away from the protest encampment in central Bangkok after the military moved in with weapons and armoured vehicles to secure the area, the paper said.

Huge plumes of smoke are billowing into the air after protesters, armed with handguns and assault rifles, set fire to the encampment.

The red-shirt protesters have soaked many of their barricades built from tyres and bamboo staves with petrol, and are ready to set them alight if they are attacked, the paper added. (ANI)

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