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Thai Police Use Tear Gas Against Protesters

Thai police in the capital, Bangkok, have used tear gas and water cannons against protesters who have mounted a drive to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from among the crowd Sunday on his Twitter blog that police have fired tear gas at protesters on a bridge near Government House, and that the protesters threw the cannisters back at police. Demonstrators have rushed barricades only to be repelled by police.

Tear gas was also fired near the city's metropolitan police headquarters several kilometers away, where demonstrators were also gathering.

Tensions are high and security is tight after at least two people were killed and around 45 were wounded in overnight political violence.

Police said Sunday that gunshots rang out late Saturday as anti-government protesters attacked people headed to a rally at a sports stadium in support of Prime Minister Yingluck. It was not clear who fired the shots.

Opposition leaders are calling Sunday their "victory day" and vow to take over every ministry until Prime Minister Yingluck resigns.

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in Bangkok Saturday as part of a week of dramatic demonstrations. The protesters tried to force their way into government communications offices, and attacked a bus and other vehicles.

In response to the unrest, Ms. Yingluck said Saturday she is willing to speak with protesters and other stakeholders.

Leaders of the anti-government movement rejected her offer, saying the government is not sincere in its desire to negotiate.



The prime minister survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Thursday. She refuses to quit and has called for dialogue to resolve the situation.

The street protests are the largest in Thailand since 2010, when more than 90 people were killed in a military crackdown on an opposition protest.

The latest demonstrations were triggered several weeks ago by an amnesty bill that would have allowed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - Ms. Yingluck's brother - to return home and avoid a two-year jail term for corruption. The Senate rejected the bill but protests have continued.

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