27 Mar 2010

Thai protesters square off with army troops

9:43 pm on 27 March 2010

Tens of thousands of Thailand's red-shirted protesters gathered in front of army positions in Bangkok on Saturday afternoon, to demand fresh elections.

The anti-government protesters were massed at eight points in the centre of the city.

Troops reportedly abandoned some of their positions after threats to tear down barbed-wire barricades. The government extended special security legislation and brought in extra troops to man checkpoints.

Anti-government protesters have mounted a series of targeted demonstrations in the past two weeks, ranging from ritualistic blood curses to head-shaving to noisy parades through the streets of the capital.

There has also been a series of unexplained explosions at buildings associated with the administration - the red shirts deny any responsibility.

The protesters, known as the red-shirts because of their distinctive clothing, are calling for the prime minister to resign.