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Thailand political crisis turns more bloody

Protesters riot outside the parliament building on Tuesday in Bangkok, Thailand. The police attacked back, firing tear gas canisters and chasing protesters down alleys.

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Protesters riot outside the parliament building on Tuesday in Bangkok, Thailand. The police attacked back, firing tear gas canisters and chasing protesters down alleys.

BANGKOK, Thailand — In a day of street battles that left one person dead and almost 400 people injured, antigovernment protesters surrounded the parliament building on Tuesday, trapping hundreds of lawmakers inside throughout the afternoon.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat escaped over a back fence in the morning, after delivering a policy address. But other lawmakers were unable to leave for more than five hours, when the police dispersed the massed protesters with volleys of tear gas.

The Thai military announced it would deploy unarmed troops to help the police keep peace in the days to come.

The assault on parliament was the culmination of an escalating feud between an urban elite trying to reclaim traditional hierarchical authority and a democratically elected government backed by a rising rural underclass.

The protesters were led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, a patchwork coalition of businessmen, academics and activists that has held street demonstrations against the government since May and has occupied the grounds of the prime minister's office for the past six weeks.

The group accuses the Somchai government of being a proxy for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was elected in 2001 on a populist platform. He was deposed in a coup in 2006 amid accusations of corruption and fled to exile in London in August.

Thailand political crisis turns more bloody 10/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:06pm]

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