Closing of Anti-Government TV Channel in Thailand Leads to Clashes with Police

Tear gas was fired by the Thai military on Red Shirt protesters today as they tried to break into the Thaicom building in Bangkok, where the anti-government channel People TV was based until the government shut it down yesterday. The military also used water cannons against around 12,000 anti-government protesters who descended on the broadcaster, furious at the closure of their campaign's channel.

Reports said some protesters successfully penetrated the broadcaster's barbed-wire fence, sparking the response from a Thai security force amassed to restore order in Bangkok, Herald Sun says.

Footage of Friday's incident was broadcast live on several Thai television channels, including TNN, a private Thai cable television station. Some protesters were initially seen running across the grounds as smoke collected around them, but the scene quickly turned peaceful as police fell back and thousands of protesters consolidated control.

The protesters -- many of whom are followers of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup four years ago -- have vowed to continue disrupting Bangkok until Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolves Parliament. Mr. Abhisit's anti-Thaksin government, which came to power in a parliamentary vote in 2008, has said it isn't ready to call elections soon, but might be willing to do so at the end of the year, Wall Street Journal  informs.

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