Bangkok street clashes enter ‘end-game’ as crackdown unfolds Soldiers breach barricades, enter Red Shirts camp

Smoke rises from from buildings in front of the Red Shirts anti-government protestors camp in Bangkok on May 19, 2010.

BANGKOK—Clouds of thick black smoke shrouded central Bangkok on Wednesday morning, and the sound of live gunfire echoed from the main anti-government protest site, as the government’s final assault began.

Thai troops broke down barriers at the main Red Shirts protest site and hundreds were deployed on the ground to secure it.

Televised images from a government broadcast network showed protesters running for cover inside the site as hundreds of heavily armed soldiers alighted from armoured personnel carriers at the Rama VI monument inside the camp and began to fan out to secure the area.

At least two people were killed on the site and eyewitnesses told the Star the bodies had yet to be removed.

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