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Page last updated at 06:12 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 07:12 UK

Thailand red-shirt protesters storm Bangkok hospital

Patients at the Chulalongkorn hospital had to be moved out

Patients have been evacuated from a hospital in the Thai capital, Bangkok, after anti-government demonstrators forced their way into the grounds.

The red-shirts, looking for soldiers they thought were hiding there, later apologised for the incident.

In a TV address, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said he will not tolerate further violence by the reds, but gave no indication of any planned action.

The red-shirts are pressing the Thai government to call early elections.

Patients at the Chulalongkorn hospital were sent to other hospitals and all except emergency services had to be suspended after the brief incursion by about 100 red-shirts on Thursday night.

But the action was quickly disowned by the protesters' leadership.

"On behalf of all leaders, I apologise to the public and Chulalongkorn hospital for the incident," one of the red-shirt leaders Dr Weng Tojirakarn said.

I have no doubt of the loyalty of the military
Thai foreign minister Kasit

"The situation got out of control. It is not our policy to obstruct hospital operations," he said.

The hospital management has asked troops to stay away from the hospital as it wishes to remain impartial.

The hospital is located in a part of the capital where troops have been deployed to prevent red-shirt incursions into the city's financial district.

The area, near the junction of Silom and Rama IV highway, was the scene of clashes a week ago when five explosions killed one person and injured many more.

Patience

Thailand's Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya has meanwhile said there is "no need for international intervention at this point in time".

The red-shirts have created a state within a state and they are getting away with it with impunity
Suriyasai Katasila, yellow-shirt spokesman

"I think we're very much in control of the situation and it's still very much an internal affair of Thailand," he said.

"We are a functioning government. We are in a position to handle the situation."

Mr Kasit was quoted in The Jakarta Post as saying he had no doubt about the loyalty of the military, adding that a coup was unlikely.

"In my own personal experience, I have talked and worked with the military chiefs as a team as Thai foreign minister for 15 months. I have no doubt of the loyalty of the military," the minister was quoted as saying.

He said his administration and the military were still attempting to convince red-shirts to return to their homes, and have vowed to end the crisis without resorting to force.

"But if the red-shirts continue to shoot and bomb people, we don't exclude the use of force to disperse them. Of course, we will do it by upholding the rule of law," he was quoted as saying.

The red-shirt leadership has denied it has stock-piled weapons or is shooting or bombing anyone.

Mr Kasit said the government was not considering imposing a deadline for the red-shirts to end their protests, saying, "we are dealing with humans so we must be patient".

In his television address on Friday, Mr Abhisit said his government was listening to many groups, and considering many options but was not able to say what they were.

Yellow

However, yellow-shirt government supporters, quiet for many months, have delivered a petition to the headquarters of the 11th Infantry battalion, where Mr Abhisit's government has been holed up for six weeks.

RED-SHIRT PROTEST
14 Mar: Red-shirts converge on Bangkok, hold first big rally, occupy government district
16 Mar: Protesters splash their own blood at Government House
30 Mar: A round of talks with the government ends in deadlock
3 Apr: Red-shirts occupy Bangkok shopping district
7 Apr: PM Abhisit orders state of emergency
10 Apr: Troops try to clear protesters; 25 people are killed and hundreds injured
22 Apr: Grenade blasts kill one and injure 85 near protest hub; each side blames the other

"The crisis in Thailand has rapidly and intensively spread and become a state of anarchy," it said.

The group formally known as the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) - known for closing down Bangkok's airports in late 2008 - criticised the government for "a vacuum of political power and disorder".

"We would like to see the brave soldiers help us get rid of this illegal activity and bring peace to Thai society as soon as possible," the petition said.

"The red shirts have created a state within a state and they are getting away with it with impunity," added Suriyasai Katasila, a spokesman for the group.

"The authorities must put an end to this."

The red-shirts, who want the government to step down, have been camped out in Bangkok for more than six weeks.

An attempted military crackdown on 10 April left 25 people dead; another person died when explosions occurred near the Silom business district on 22 April.

Separately on Wednesday the Constitutional Court agreed to consider a recommendation by the Electoral Commission to dissolve Mr Abhisit's ruling Democrat Party over misuse of funds.

Map showing Bangkok and shooting location



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