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Thai Government to Launch Probe Into Deadly Clashes


Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat says the government has launched an independent probe into this week's deadly clashes between police and protesters.

Mr. Somchai said Thursday two non-governmental committees will be set up to investigate Tuesday's violence outside the parliament complex in Bangkok. Each side accuses the other of starting the violence, which killed two people and injured more than 400 others.

Earlier Thursday, Thailand's Court of Appeals dismissed treason charges against nine leaders of an anti-government protest group, which has occupied the government's main complex for nearly two months. Judges also dismissed charges of conspiracy to incite treason and disobeying police orders to disperse.

Two detained protest leaders were released on bail immediately after the ruling. They could still face charges of committing public disorder.

The opposition group, People's Alliance for Democracy, PAD, stormed the grounds of Government House in August, demanding that party step down. It says the government is too close to deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Authorities had issued nine arrest warrants after members of the group seized the official Government House in Bangkok in late August. Two of the leaders have since been arrested. The lawyer for PAD says the other seven leaders, barricaded in the government complex, will surrender now that the treason charges have been dropped.

The treason charges carried a maximum life prison sentence.

A demonstration on Tuesday turned violent when anti-government protesters clashed with police. Both sides accuse one another of starting the violence, which killed two people and injured more than 400 others.

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