Following armed skirmishes over several days between “Red Shirt” protesters and Thai troops, armed Government forces have stormed the protesters’ camp, leading to at least four deaths, Associated Press is reporting.
The Thai Government says that talks may only proceed if the protest ends, though there are currently several thousand people inside the barricaded camp, which occupies an area of around 4KM² in Bangkok, covering an area of shopping and business districts.
The troops issued loudspeaker warnings before storming the camp in armoured personnel carriers containing armed troops.
An Italian photo journalist is among those believed to have been killed in the move, which takes the number of fatalities from the past week of fighting between Red Shirts and Government troops to 40, according to the Associated Press.
The Red Shirts want their to be a new election because the current Thai Government came to power following a deal, rather than a public vote. They had agreed to talk with the Government this week, but this agreement apparently collapsed when the Government insisted upon the protest camp breaking up before such talks could take place, then ordering troops to storm the stronghold when no agreement was reached.
A national holiday has been declared in the country until Friday to allow this situation to be resolved.