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Hopes of Thai peace talks dashed

Hopes of Thai peace talks dashed
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The Thai government has ended up rejecting proposed peace talks with protesters holding out in their barricaded camp in central Bangkok.

There were hopes that an offer by numerous senators to mediate in the crisis would lead to a peaceful resolution of the impasse.

Close to 70 people have now died since the anti-government protest began nine weeks ago.

Authorities are taking a tough line. Thai cabinet minister Satit Wongnongtoey said: “It is possible to end this situation, but talks can only start when the protesters end their demonstrations.”

Violence over the past six days has now left at least 38 people dead, as soldiers fire live rounds and demonstrators try to fight back with petrol bombs and fireworks.

Many of the so-called red shirt protesters have left the encampment since the army started to move in, but thousands remain.

“I’m horrified that soldiers have done this,” said one man outside the encampment. “It is not right that troops come to seal off the area and shoot people. These people just have their bare hands.”

Authorities warned the red shirts to leave their encampment by Monday, but the deadline came and went, raising fears about how the military will now respond.