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Thai Government Cancels Ex-Prime Minister's Passport


Thailand has revoked the passport of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in connection with protests that have plunged the country deeper into a political crisis.

A government spokesman, Panitan Wattanayagorn, says the Foreign Ministry has revoked Mr. Thaksin's passport for inciting his supporters to storm last week's Asian summit in the coastal resort of Pattaya, forcing its cancellation.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Mr. Thaksin and 14 opposition leaders on charges of illegal assembly and inciting criminal acts. The former prime minister, who was overthrown in a 2006 military coup, spoke to the protesters every night via video and telephone, calling for revolution.

Mr. Thaksin has been living in voluntary exile to avoid a two-year jail sentence on corruption charges. He is believed to be living mainly in Dubai.

A state of emergency imposed after the Pattaya summit was canceled remains in effect in Thailand, as authorities continue to search for the leaders of the three-week old anti-government protests. Mr. Thaksin's supporters had been camped in an area outside Government House in Bangkok, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The siege escalated into violence, with street clashes in Bangkok Monday that left two people dead and more than 100 wounded.

The demonstrations ended Tuesday after protest leaders called for a peaceful end to the demonstrations and four of them surrendered to police.

As many as 2,000 demonstrators boarded buses to return home as authorities cleared roadblocks and burning tires from Bangkok's streets.

Newspapers in Bangkok denounced Mr. Thaksin and the protest leaders for inciting unrest, but also called for national reconciliation to end the political upheaval that has plagued Thailand since Mr. Thaksin's ouster.

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


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