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Exclusive FRANCE 24 footage shows soldiers firing directly at protesters

Exclusive FRANCE 24 footage contradicts the Thai government’s declaration that soldiers only fired live rounds into the air during Saturday night clashes with "Red Shirt" anti-government protesters in which at least 21 people were killed.

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A FRANCE 24 team were reporting from the thick of the fighting on Saturday night when the Thai army launched its crackdown on the anti government “Red Shirts” protesters.

Our exclusive footage contradicts the Thai government’s declaration that soldiers only fired live rounds “into the air”. At least 20 people were killed and 800 wounded in the violence.

Coverage from Bangkok
Coverage from Bangkok Behind the scenes of FRANCE 24's exclusive report on the Thai protests.

At 1’25 in the FRANCE 24 video above, Thai soldiers can be seen firing their automatic riffles directly at the protesters.

 “We visited different hospitals Sunday morning and we’ve seen several victims with bullet wounds in the head (…) It’s really hard to believe the official declaration that mentions only rubber bullets and troops firing into the air”, says Cyril Payen, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Bangkok, who was at the scene of the fighting on Saturday night.

According to our team, the clash was triggered by the explosion of a grenade, the origin of which remains unknown.

 “The explosion killed seven soldiers and wounded a colonel of the Thai security forces in his head”, says FRANCE 24’s Payen.

ON THE OBSERVERS
ON THE OBSERVERS

 While the victims of the explosion were being taken to the nearest hospital, the army retaliated by firing into the crowd, plunging Bangkok into chaos.

These deadly clashes come after almost a month of mass-demonstrations by the “Red Shirts”, who are calling for early elections and consider Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of government since December 2008, as totally illegitimate.
 

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