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Page last updated at 10:30 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 11:30 UK

Thai government 'in control' amid red protests

Red-shirt protester sleeps by a barricade in Bangkok on 29 April 2010
The protesters say they will not leave until parliament is dissolved

The Thai foreign minister, on a visit to Indonesia, has said his government has red-shirt protests under control.

Kasit Piromya added that there was no need for international intervention.

His comments followed the delivery of a request by the red-shirt movement to the European Union for observers to help prevent a violent crackdown.

The yellow-shirt government supporters, quiet for many months, have meanwhile asked the prime minister if he has a plan to deal with the reds.

A day after clashes between government forces and red-shirt protesters which left one soldier dead in an apparent friendly fire incident, the streets of Bangkok were quiet.

In control?

The government said it was reinforcing checks on people and weapons moving in and out of the red-shirt protest camp in the centre of the city.

But there was little sign of additional security from the government side around the red-shirt area, where guards from the red-shirts are well entrenched behind huge barricades.

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

The European Union ambassador, David Lipman, responded to the reds' letter requesting "urgent" observation by saying that the EU remained deeply concerned about the state of affairs in Thailand.

He called for respect for the rule of law, constructive dialogue and a negotiated solution to the current political crisis through peaceful and democratic means, an EU statement said.

In Jarkarta, Mr Krasit told a press conference that there was "no need for international intervention at this point in time".

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

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

Yellows' concern

A group to which Mr Kasit used to belong, and which has supported his government so far, appeared unconvinced.

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

Several hundred yellow-shirts went to the headquarters of the 11th Infantry battalion, where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government has been holed up for six weeks.

"The crisis in Thailand has rapidly and intensively spread and become a state of anarchy," their petition 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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