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Thai Government Charges 14 Protest Leaders


Thai authorities have issued arrest warrants for 14 opposition protest leaders following two days of street battles with security forces.

The warrants issued Tuesday charge fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and 13 others with illegal assembly and inciting criminal acts.

Monday's street clashes between protesters and government troops in the capital left two people dead and more than 100 wounded.

Four protest leaders surrendered to police earlier Tuesday and called for demonstrators to end their protests peacefully.

Their appeal ended a standoff between military troops and as many as 2,000 die-hard protesters who were still gathered outside Government House in Bangkok.

Thousands of demonstrators boarded buses to return home as authorities cleared roadblocks and burning tires from Bangkok's streets.

But Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the state of emergency in the Thai capital will remain in effect. Mr. Abhisit said some protests continue in other parts of Bangkok, although he said demonstrators are no longer wearing their distinctive red shirts.

Authorities said three men linked to the protesters were arrested Tuesday for allegedly planning to bomb a bank and another building.

The government on Tuesday also announced that it has extended by two days the three-day Thai New Year holiday.

Supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had been camped in an area outside the prime minister's office for weeks, in a bid to get him to step down and call snap elections.

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


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