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Thai Political Protests Turn Deadly

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About 5,000 demonstrators have camped outside of the office of Thailand's prime minister Tuesday, a day after violent clashes between soldiers and anti-government protesters left two people dead.

The demonstrators are supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the figurehead of the "red shirt" protest movement.

In a Tuesday interview with Reuters, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he was not interested in making a deal with Mr. Thaksin. The news agency says the prime minister also ruled out an immediate dissolution of parliament.

The protesters have called for Mr. Abhisit to step down and call elections.

More than 100 people have been injured in the capital Bangkok in running battles between security forces and protesters who spent Monday hurling homemade bombs at soldiers and setting fire to buses.

Soldiers have used warning shots, tear gas and water cannons to push the demonstrators back to the prime minister's office, the main rallying point for Mr. Thaksin's supporters.

The U.S. State Department condemned the protesters' violence Monday, calling it "unacceptable".

A State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, said he is sure U.S. diplomats have discussed the situation with Thai authorities, and that Bangkok knows Washington wants to see an end to the crisis.

The European Union has also expressed "great concern" and called for a peaceful resolution of the situation.

The protesters have been spurred on by Mr. Thaksin, who is living in exile outside the country. He called Sunday for a revolution, and suggested he might return to Thailand to lead a new government.

Thailand has been mired in political upheaval since the military deposed Mr. Thaksin in 2006, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.

Since then, a power struggle between his supporters and opponents has made it difficult for any leader to keep his seat.

Mr. Abhisit, Thailand's third prime minister in a year, insists his government is still in control.

The unrest disrupted the start of the Thai New Year, and has threatened the economy. Several countries have issued travel warnings for Thailand, dealing a blow to its tourism industry.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.