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Thai riot police, protesters, face each other at government HQ

(Reuters) - Lines of Thai riot police confronted anti-government protesters blocking the government's headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday after authorities said they would renew an operation to retake several sites occupied by demonstrators for weeks.

The protesters have been rallying since November in a bid to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whom they view as a proxy for her elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former premier toppled in a military coup in 2006.

Bluesky TV, the protest movement's own television channel that broadcasts the fiery speeches of its leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, showed live pictures of ranks of police with shields near Government House in central Bangkok.

Raw: Deadly Clashes in Bangkok

Demonstrators were massed a few hundred meters away, the two sides separated by sandbag barriers constructed by the protesters. There were no clashes.

Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is in charge of the security operation, has said police would reclaim protest sites near Government House, the Interior Ministry, the Energy Ministry and a government administration complex in north Bangkok.

The protests are the latest installment of an eight-year political battle broadly pitting the Bangkok middle class and royalist establishment against the poorer, mostly rural supporters of Yingluck and her billionaire brother Thaksin.

Demonstrators accuse Thaksin of nepotism and corruption and say he used taxpayers' money for populist subsidies and easy loans that have bought him the loyalty of millions in the populous north and northeast.

Yingluck has been forced to abandon her office in Government House by the protesters, who have also blocked major intersections in Bangkok's shopping and business districts since mid-January.

(Reporting by Alex Richardson; Editing by Alan Raybould and Paul Tait)

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sylvabugg2 February 18 2014 at 8:13 AM

Confucius say, "Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways, going to Bangkok."

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Capt. BOB February 18 2014 at 5:47 AM

It must be clearly stated that, even both opposing the current Government, the protesting farmers screaming to be paid from the promises of the "rice pledge", populist lures from the Government, are a different group, with NO LINKS at all with the Democrat sensibility demonstrators, who are more broadly opposing the Government and ask for its destitution. The farmers ask to be paid only, and are normally "red shirts" the party of the current Government.
The protesters under Democrat banner, are a lot of microcosms, eventually very different from one the other, just scting in a coherent manner, temporarily..

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eric February 18 2014 at 8:44 AM

I take it English is not your native language.

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gogayu February 18 2014 at 11:17 AM

maybe you should have responded back in Thai... arrogant Americans!

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edsmale February 19 2014 at 7:34 AM

So? You Think English is the worlds only language? Inept idiot.

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ranger197172 February 18 2014 at 10:43 AM

I do not believe you really know anything about the situation here. The govt in power was elected with a 75% majority. The yellow shirts are mad because they do not have enough support to get what they want, a dictatorship. They pay people to come demonstrate for them.

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gogayu February 18 2014 at 11:22 AM

We understand the situation. There is a class war going on in Thailand. The Rich are getting Richer and the poor are getting poorer. 1% of the poulation owns 80% of the wealth.... oops, sorry, I was thinking about USA while reponding to your comment.

Forget about Thailand, they are just a THIRD WORLD country, who gives a .... the politicans buy the votes of the poor majority by giving them food, clothing, healtcare and free education. WHAT? WTF???? Wish the American Politicians would do the same!

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edsmale February 19 2014 at 7:37 AM

Well well...are you a liar or ignorant? You can't have 75% majority when barely 50% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Or when 75% of those who do are paid to vote that way it becomes irrelevant. And I thought only Americans lied. 55!

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