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Thai Government Deadline Expires For Red Shirts To End Protest

At least 36 people have died in the fighting
A deadline set by Thai authorities has expired for "Red Shirt" demonstrators to leave a protest site where they have been camped in Bangkok since March.

At least 36 people have died in violence in Bangkok since May 12, when street fighting erupted after a renegade army general who worked for the "Red Shirts" was shot by a sniper. The general, Khattiya Sawasdipol, died today of his wounds.

Antigovernment protest leader, Weng Tojirakarn has blamed the government for the deaths and called on government troops to stop shooting.

"The deaths have been caused by the government. If the government wants to stop the killing, the government should stop shooting immediately. Immediately. We have been demonstrating here for almost two months and before that, we have demonstrated many times. There were no losses before but right after the government ordered the shooting, there were casualties," Tojirakarn said.

On May 16, protest leaders appealed in vain for UN-mediated talks with the government. But the government has repeatedly warned foreign officials and organizations not to meddle in its affairs.