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One dead as armed forces called in for Thailand anti-government rallies

One dead as armed forces called in for Thailand anti-government rallies
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Anti-government rallies in Thailand have resulted in reports of one death and intervention from the armed forces, following a week of angry street protests against prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

A crowd of around 2,000 people gathered outside state-owned energy companies, briefly shutting down the power at one of them.

In addition to reported assaults on people and vehicles, protesters also briefly occupied government offices in the Thai capital.

Despite mounting tensions, Shinawatra had originally said she was hesitant to use the full force of the army to control the crowds.

Speaking at a press conference, she said: “Up until now, the police can still operate and the military forces have been asked to take care of a few places. But at this point there’s no need to use the troops to take care of security. Using the police as the main force should be enough and we hope people will cooperate with police officers by not using violence against them.”

The attacks are the latest in a series of protests against the prime minister. She is accused of being too heavily under the influence of her millionaire brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

They took place near to the site of a ‘red shirt’ pro-government rally in Bangkok, heightening the conflict between the urban middle class and the mostly rural supporters of the Shinawatras.

A further protest is planned for Sunday.