Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thai protesters abandon rally, end standoff

Updated at: 1154 PST, Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BANGKOK: Thai anti-government protesters threatened with a military offensive abandoned a three-week rally at the premier's office Tuesday, pulling the kingdom back from a potentially bloody showdown in the streets. A day after skirmishes in Bangkok left two dead and 113 injured, troops and police tightened their grip on thousands of protesters dug in around Government House, the offices of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. In the face of the overwhelming army operation, organisers agreed to disperse in a major victory for Abhisit, who had appeared on the verge of losing his hold on power after four months in the job. Police and the army said that protesters not involved in Monday's street violence would be allowed to return home but that "hardcore" figures were being detained, with protest leaders facing imminent arrest.

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