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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Thai police seek protest leaders
An anti-coup protester clashes with police in the Thai capital Bangkok
Protesters say police used tear gas and batons to disperse them
Police in Thailand are seeking the arrest of leaders of an anti-government movement, after violent protests in the capital Bangkok.

Sunday's clashes broke out after protesters surrounded the home of a top official they accuse of orchestrating last year's military coup.

More than 100 people, half of them police, were injured in the late-night clashes, officials and medics said.

Six people have already been charged over the protests, according to police.

It was the first violence since the military ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September 2006.

Senior advisor

Since the coup there have been regular protests against military rule, but until now none has been very big and none violent, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok.

That changed on Sunday night when police tried to clear several thousand demonstrators from outside the home of Prem Tinsulanonda.

Mr Prem, 86, is the most senior advisor to the Thai king and, our correspondent says, arguably among the most powerful people in the country.

The protesters accuse him of a playing a key role in planning last year's bloodless coup.

Demonstrators threw rocks and bottles as police moved in to disperse them, and police responded with teargas and water canons. Dozens of people were injured on both sides.

Six people have been charged with disturbing the peace and injuring police officers, and police say they are now seeking arrest warrants for eight leaders of the group that organised the protests.

Constitution campaign

Mr Prem enjoys great respect because of his position in the palace and his successful stint in government in the 1980s.

So pictures published in the Thai media of protesters throwing rocks at his house are likely to cost the anti-military movement a lot of public sympathy, at a time when it has been trying to rally opposition to the new constitution, our correspondent says.

A military-appointed commission has completed the new constitution and a nationwide referendum on the draft is to take place on 19 August.

If it passes, the Thai military says democratic elections could be held by the end of the year.




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Violent clashes on the streets of Bangkok





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