UK & World News

  • 25 May 2014, 18:58

Thai Police Clash With Protesters In Bangkok

More than 1,000 protesters marching against the military coup in Thailand have been involved in a tense stand-off with police.

The demonstrators are marching in defiance of limits on public gatherings imposed since the army took control this week.

As the protesters marched from a shopping centre in the city centre they were met by a line of riot police, backed by heavily-armed soldiers.

Sky News Asia Correspondent Mark Stone, who is at the scene of the confrontation, said it had been "bloodless, but incredibly tense".

"This is very tense because one of the key conditions the general now in charge of this country made was that he did not want any political gatherings of more than five people," he said.

He added that the situation on the ground in Bangkok could change "very quickly".

"Right now, they (riot police) seem to have got the situation under control, but you can see they are heavily armed.

"A little bit earlier on, right here in this position, we filmed some clashes which were the most tense we've seen since this coup took hold.

"We saw as the protesters pushed the army back, the army managed to regain control relatively quickly, but it's just a sign of how things could turn very, very quickly."

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At one point the protesters chased away a group of soldiers in the Ratchaprasong shopping district.

Soldiers have blocked off elevated walkways linking shopping centres and trains to the area have been suspended.

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a "safe place" on Saturday, an aide said, after being held by the army following the coup.

The army moved on Thursday after failing to forge a compromise in a power struggle between Ms Yingluck's populist government and the royalist establishment, which brought months of unrest to Bangkok's streets.

The military detained Ms Yingluck on Friday when she and scores of other people, most of them her political allies, were summoned to an army facility in Bangkok.

Thailand has been locked in political crisis since a 2006 military coup that deposed Ms Yingluck's elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire tycoon who clashed with the royalist establishment.

His Red Shirt supporters had warned that any military overthrow of the government could trigger civil war and all eyes are now on how his movement will respond.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said there was "no justification" for the military takeover.

He said it would have "negative implications" for US relations, and demanded early elections.

British ambassador to Thailand Mark Kent said British citizens should "exercise extreme caution" and follow travel advice and media updates."

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