Police in Thailand have fired tear gas on protesters in an effort to keep massive demonstrations at bay. The leader of the anti-government protests has also met with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
At least three people have died and dozens have been injured since the start of violent clashes in Bangkok overnight between between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. At least two of the victims died of gunshot wounds.
Some protesters were throwing rocks or petrol bombs at police on Sunday.
Yingluck herself was affected by the protests on Sunday when she was forced to evacuate a police complex in Bangkok where she had been scheduled to give an interview to reporters. Protesters outside the building were attempting to break in, and Yingluck was taken to an undisclosed location.
The government has cautioned Thai citizens in the capital from leaving their homes overnight.
"We ask people to not leave their homes for their safety so they will not become a victim of provocateurs," said Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok in a televised address.
Protest leader meets with PM
Also on Sunday came the unexpected news that the leader of the anti-government protests, Suthep Thaugsuban, met with Yingluck Shinawatra.
In a televised broadcast, Suthep said he told the prime minister he would accept nothing less than her government stepping down, to be replaced by an appointed council.
The meeting was attended by the Thai army, navy and air force.
"I will not meet with Yingluck again until there is a victory of the people," Suthep said.
Opposition leaders believe Yingluck is serving as a puppet for her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2008. They are calling for a "people's coup" and encouraging protesters to take over government offices, television stations, police stations, and Yingluck's offices. Thaksin now lives in exile in Dubai.
Some 21,000 police plus and nearly 3,000 troops were deployed to protect government facilities around the capital. The opposition bid to seize buildings began on Monday, and some buildings have been occupied since then.
Yingluck has vowed not to order the use of force and has offered to sit down for talks with opposition parties. The offer has not been accepted.
mz, jr/tj (Reuters, AP)
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