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Thai PM: Soldiers Withdrawn After 10 Die in Clashes


Thailand's Prime Minister says soldiers have ended their operation after at least 10 people were killed in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in Bangkok.

Abhisit Vejjajiva went on television late Saturday to say he will continue efforts to resolve the stituation, refusing to bow to demands to resign. The beleaguered prime minister expressed condolences to family members of the victims.

Month-long protests turned violent after security forces attempted to move thousands of "Red Shirt" protesters who are blocking key areas in the capital.

Security forces have failed to disperse protesters from public places despite firing rubber bullets, tear gas and even live ammunition. Protesters fought back with stones, guns and gasoline bombs.

Officials say one journalist and several troops are among those killed. More than 500 others were injured in Saturday clashes.

Reuters news agency identified the journalist as its Tokyo-based cameraman Hiro Muramoto. It says Muramoto was shot in the chest.

Confrontations occurred in several parts of the city, including a main commercial area in Bangkok, areas near government buildings and a military base. Some protesters attempted to disable police closed-circuit surveillance cameras by covering them up.

"Red Shirt" demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit and new elections.

Most of them back ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

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

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