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Thailand, in state of emergency, bans gatherings
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Thailand on Tuesday banned gatherings of more than five people in Bangkok, state radio announced, under an emergency decree invoked after clashes between protesters in the capital left one dead.

The announcement said that the emergency decree gave the army chief, General Anupong Paojinda, power to break up any gathering and to force people to leave any location.

"By invoking this emergency decree, Anupong can ban people from entering any specific place and can evacuate people from any specific place," the announcement said.

Embattled Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who has faced mounting calls for his resignation, appointed Anupong as chief of a special team tasked with enforcing the emergency decree.

Thai police called in army reinforcements early Tuesday as thousands of pro-and anti-government protesters clashed in the capital, leaving one dead and dozens injured, officials and local media said.

Thai television showed protesters wearing helmets and carrying batons running though the streets, fighting with each other and throwing rocks, as people lay bleeding on the street.

The violence took place not far from the site where about 15,000 demonstrators have been besieging the main government compound for a week, demanding that Samak step down.

(China Daily via Agencies September 2, 2008)

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