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Senior Thai red-shirt leaders appear in court

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Senior Thai red-shirt leaders appear in court

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A group of top Thai anti-government protesters have pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges for their role in the political unrest that rocked Thailand in May.

Hundreds of police surrounded Bangkok’s criminal court as 19 senior red-shirts arrived.

All deny the death and destruction that resulted at the end of their nine week protest.

The red shirt leaders’ lawyer Karom Phonthakland said: ‘‘We hope the court here will be the last place we can find justice, even though there is no justice in this country. The destruction we saw during the crackdown was not from these leaders. There’s no evidence to show they were involved. We are confident we’ll prove it.’‘

The government has accused some elements of the red-shirts of using gunmen to assault soldiers and protesters during the military crackdown that brought the protests to an end.

Thailand has largely been stable since then but a state of emergency still remains in place in several provinces, including the capital Bangkok.

Hundreds of protesters have been held since May’s unrest that killed almost a 100 people and wounded nearly 2000.