Page last updated at 06:59 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 07:59 UK

Thai protesters vow to press on

Protesters inside the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand on 08/10/2008
The protesters want sweeping electoral changes

Protesters seeking to force the Thai government to resign say they will continue their demonstrations, a day after violent clashes in Bangkok.

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has accused the government of having blood on its hands, a day after two people died in violent protests.

More than 400 people were injured in the clashes.

The streets around parliament were quiet overnight after the military deployed unarmed troops to help police.

The demonstrators were attempting to disrupt the inauguration of the new government, which they claim is being run by proxies of the ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

We will continue to fight in a peaceful way to topple the killer government
Somsak Kosaisuk
PAD protest leader

The protesters barricaded the building and trapped lawmakers inside for several hours as police outside fired volleys of tear gas in the crowds to try to clear the area.

The new prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat - who has refused to quit - was forced to climb over a fence to escape.

Mr Somchai, who is Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law, has sought to calm fears of further unrest, telling foreign ambassadors that the government will "resolve the domestic problems through the democratic process", the Agence France Presse news agency reported.


A man was killed in a suspected car bomb near parliament, and a woman was killed during the clashes.

Eight police officers are reported to have been shot or stabbed. Medical authorities said 443 people were injured, 66 of whom had to be hospitalised. At least two protesters had to have limbs amputated.

Demonstrators accused police of using stun grenades, but the authorities said they only used tear gas.

Local media were shocked by Tuesday's violence. The Bangkok Post newspaper said the country was on the "brink of anarchy", while The Nation described the violence as a "bloodbath in Bangkok".

Protesters next to a burning car after an explosion in Bangkok, 7 October 2008
One person died after a suspected car bomb exploded near the parliament

Troops were eventually brought into help the police, although army commanders took pains to reassure the public that there would be no coup - always a possibility in Thailand, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok.

Mr Thaksin, who is living in Britain, was deposed in a military coup in 2006.

The PAD has been occupying the grounds of government buildings for weeks, but until Tuesday their demonstration had been largely peaceful.

The PAD's Sirichai Maingam told TV3 television that the protests would continue.

"We can't stand this government with blood on its hands. More people will hit the streets to oust this government," he said.

Protest leader Somsak Kosaisuk accused the government of using "weapons of war" against peaceful protesters.

"We will continue to fight in a peaceful way to topple the killer government," he told reporters.

The violence has heightened the political uncertainty that has gripped Thailand since early 2006, when large protests led to a military coup that ousted Mr Thaksin.

Mr Thaksin's abrasive style and alleged corruption have made him a deeply polarising figure, but his allies have won every election since then.

The street fighting was the worst in Thailand since 1992, when the army killed dozens of pro-democracy demonstrators seeking to oust a military-backed government.

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