Thai cops clash with royalist protesters, dozens arrested
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Thai police fired tear gas at stone-throwing demonstrators and made dozens of arrests on Saturday as thousands demanded the overthrow of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the biggest street protest yet against her 16-month-old government.
Protesters from the royalist Pitak Siam group, led by retired military general Boonlert Kaewprasit, repeatedly tried to breach police lines in the Thai capital and rammed a six-wheeler truck into a barrier but were held back.
They accused Yingluck's government of corruption, being a puppet of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, and of disloyalty to Thailand's monarchy. Many were members of a yellow-shirt protest movement that helped trigger a coup by royalist generals in 2006 that toppled Thaksin.
"If I can't overthrow this government, I am prepared to die," Boonlert told supporters.
The clashes revived memories of a tumultuous 2008, when yellow-shirted protesters seized government offices, fought street battles with police, and occupied Bangkok's main airports for eight days. Amid that turbulence, two pro-Thaksin prime ministers were forced to resign by the courts.
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