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Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Blast hits Thai government house

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Aftermath of grenade attack in Government House, Bangkok

A grenade explosion has injured 46 people inside the opposition-occupied government house in the Thai capital Bangkok, emergency services say.

The blast came as the authorities were trying to end a blockade of Bangkok's two main airports by People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters.

The protesters are demanding the prime minister's sacking and have occupied government house since August.

A grenade attack there last Saturday injured eight of them.

Suriyasai Katasila, a PAD spokesman, said the grenade had gone off just after midnight (1700 GMT), 300m (yards) from the stage in the government house compound.

"Protesters have returned to their positions, they are not scared," he told Thailand's Channel Three television.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, seen by the protesters as an ally of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has refused to resign in the face of the protests.

A person injured by the grenade blast in Bangkok is carried away by stretcher
The protesters have come under attack several times since the sit-in started

The PAD - a loose alliance of royalists, businessmen and the urban middle class - say the government is corrupt and hostile to the monarchy.

The blockade of Bangkok's two main airports has entered its sixth day but the protesters say they will not leave until the prime minister quits.

Protesters attacked two checkpoints near the main airport, Suvarnabhumi international, on Saturday, forcing police to retreat.

A few hundred police on duty are no match for the thousands of protesters, the BBC's Quentin Sommerville reports from Bangkok.

The prime minister has staked his government's reputation on ending the occupation.

The army are against him and his grip on power appears to be slipping, our correspondent says, as tens of thousands of stranded travellers are running short on cash and short of patience.

The government has started commercial services from a nearby military base but the waiting list for flights runs into weeks.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Washington Post Fears of Violence Grow in Thai Political Crisis - 46 mins ago
CNN Thai protesters threaten to up airport blockade - 2 hrs ago
CNN PAD threaten to up airport protest - 2 hrs ago
Washington Post Alarm Grows as Government Supporters Rally in Thai Capital: Fears of Widespread Violence Grow as Thai Political Crisis Takes New Turn - 3 hrs ago
Reuters Thai protesters consolidate hold on airport - 3 hrs ago



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