Thai Protesters Send Convoy to Suburban Market

Thai troops have fired into the air near a group of anti-government protesters in an effort to block them from taking their protest to a suburban Bangkok market.

Several thousand Red Shirt protesters left their fortified encampment in Bangkok's downtown commercial district in motorcycles and pickup trucks on Wednesday to move their seven-week campaign outside the city.

The government has guaranteed to keep the Red Shirts from spreading the protest outside their encampment.

The convoy is traveling on a road where a group of Red Shirts briefly set up a barricade earlier this week to block additional Thai security forces from heading into the city.

The anti-government forces have virtually brought Bangkok to a standstill in their drive to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to announce new elections.

The Red Shirts placed tires along Bangkok's elevated railway system on Tuesday, shutting down the system for several hours. The activists said they were worried that Thai troops might use the station to attack them from above.

The protests have turned bloody, with at least 26 people killed and nearly 1,000 wounded during clashes with Thai security forces.

The Red Shirts are supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in 2006 on accusations of corruption. They say Mr. Abhisit was installed in office illegally.

The Thai government has accused Red Shirt leaders of plotting to overthrow Thailand's revered monarchy, a charge the movement denies.

But Mr. Abhisit said earlier this week his government will try to implement the law with "minimum losses," as he put it. He also promised to try to find a political resolution to the crisis, and he pleaded for "patience and cooperation."
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