15 Dead as Thai Troops, Red Shirts Clash
Army honcho orders retreat, asks protesters to do same
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2010 7:12 AM CDT
Updated Apr 10, 2010 10:30 AM CDT
A Thai Buddhist monk waits near an anti-government rally stage Saturday, April 10, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand.   (David Longstreath)
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(Newser) – Thai soldiers and police fought pitched battles with anti-government demonstrators in streets enveloped in tear gas , but troops later retreated and asked protesters to do the same. Fifteen people were killed, including a Japanese journalist, and more than 650 wounded, according to hospital officials. Beleaguered Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva went on national television shortly before midnight to assert that he would not bow to protesters' demands to dissolve Parliament.

The Red Shirt protesters also are demanding that Abhisit call new elections. Their demonstrations are part of a long-running battle between the mostly poor and rural supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the ruling elite they say orchestrated the 2006 military coup that removed him from power.