Article published on the 2008-10-07 Latest update 2008-10-07 15:05 TU
"Public, please do not panic," General Anupong Paojinda declared. "The troops are being sent out not because there is another coup. Absolutely the military will not stage a coup. It's not good for our country."
The army deposed then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006, only to see his allies elected to power in an election this year.
The troops were deployed after police used teargas for the second day running against about 8,000 protesters who have surrounded Parliament, after leaving their previous camp in front of government offices.
"I think it’s come to a head because you’ve now got thousands of protesters marching on Parliament," says Bangkok-based journalist Claire Truscott.
The protests failed to prevent Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat from giving his first policy speech, although the special parliamentary session only lasted two hours and police had to clear a way for MPs to leave.
"They were actually stopping MPs from going into the building and going about government business," Truscott told RFI, adding that if the parliamentary session had not gone ahead, the demonstrators would have succeeded in "stopping government in its tracks".
Hospital officials report one female protester has died, without giving details of the cause.
Police say that eight of their officers were shot or stabbed, as protesters overturned police vehicles and fired guns. They also say that the victim of a car explosion earlier Tuesday was a man, not a woman as previously reported.
Government officials say that 358 people have been injured, at least 20 of them seriously.
2008-09-17 15:14 TU