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Thailand Protesters Hurl Blood At Thai PM Abhisit's House
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Thai protesters have hurled plastic bags filled with gallons of their own blood in a symbolic protest at the prime minister's house in Bangkok.

Security forces agreed to let a few of the red-shirted demonstrators spill the blood outside the compound of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva. There had been fears of clashes with security forces on the fourth day of mass rallies to demand the PM resign.

The opposition, many of whom back ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, want fresh polls. The protesters say they are now heading toward foreign embassies after reports that "foreign intelligence" had warned the government the red-shirts could turn violent. Both red-shirt leaders and government figures have insisted they are determined to keep the protests peaceful.

The demonstrators say Mr Abhisit's government is illegitimate and should be dissolved. Neither Mr Abhisit nor his family were at their home in the upmarket Bangkok suburb. He has been staying at the headquarters of the 11th Infantry Battalion in the north of Bangkok since the protests began.

Police and troop reinforcements were drafted in at the last minute at the prime minister's house, sparking fears of a confrontation. The government had said it would invoke the Internal Security Act to ban the protest, but once again a negotiated solution was found. Several dozen demonstrators were allowed through the police cordon carrying plastic bottles filled with blood, which was poured into small plastic bags and then thrown at the home.

Government cleaners quickly went into action to mop up the blood on Tuesday, amid fears of infection. There was criticism that the blood spilling was wasting a resource which could have been used to help the sick. The BBC's South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey says the protesters' numbers are dwindling, but the passion is undiminished and the demands as loud as ever.

A senior police officer said he estimated numbers had dropped from 100,000 to 90,000 people by Tuesday evening. Reporters asked a protest leader, Veera Musikapong, what their next move would be, and he replied: "I want to know that myself," the Associated Press reported. He said the group mapped strategy on a day-by-day basis.

On Tuesday, they poured human blood at the gates of Government House and, later, the headquarters of the Democrat Party. Many thousands of protesters had lined up to donate their blood. "The blood of the common people is mixing together to fight for democracy," said Natthawut Saikua, a red-shirt leader.

Tens of thousands of security forces remain on standby and army leaders say they plan to be flexible and gentle as the protests continue. On Monday, Mr Abhisit rejected a demand from protesters to quit and call elections. The stand-off is the latest in a deep political schism in the country, linked to the 2006 military coup which deposed former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

A cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled, and a parliamentary hearing stopped for lack of a quorum. Both sides appeared to be making every effort to avoid confrontation.
The protest, led by red-shirted supporters of Mr Thaksin has been one of the largest in recent years. The protesters say the present government was installed illegally after Mr Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006, and two subsequent allied governments were deposed by court action.
Source: BBC

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