Thai Gov't Disses Red Shirts' Offer of Talks

Says crackdown will continue
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2010 5:43 AM CDT
Updated May 16, 2010 7:38 AM CDT
An anti-government protester carries a tire to be burnt as smoke plummets in the streets during a shooting between them and Thai soldiers on Saturday May 15, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand.   (Wong Maye-E)
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(Newser) – Thailand's government says a crackdown on Red Shirt protesters will continue despite their plea for UN-mediated talks. Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says there is no reason for the army to withdraw since "authorities are not using weapons to crack down on civilians." The government maintains it is only targeting armed "terrorists" among the Red Shirts.

Panitan says groups that use weapons and threaten security forces must "stop their actions immediately." Earlier today, the Red Shirt leadership said it would negotiate with the Thai government provided the army ends its crackdown. At least 25 people have died in clashes between anti-government protesters and troops since Thursday.

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