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    Possible End to Anti-Government Protests in Thailand?


    by NTDTelevision

    The latest on anti-government protests in Bangkok. Protesters say they're ready to negotiate, but government officials say not until violence that's claimed nearly 70 lives, is brought to an end.

    Anti-government protesters in Bangkok agreed to talks to end Thailand's long political crisis.

    Speaking at a news conference, the leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship would accept the senate's negotiations proposal.

    [Nattawut Saikeau, Protest Leader, UDD]:male, thai
    "The United Nations has not responded to our demand so far, but the request to stop the shooting is an urgent issue that cannot wait, not even a single minute. Therefore, the UDD will accept the senator's proposal."

    The talks would be led by a group of 64 senators who offered to mediate with the protesters, aiming for a ceasefire on both sides.

    But the Thai government says it’ll agree on one condition.

    [Satit Wongnongtaey, Thai Cabinet Minister]: (thai male)
    "This situation can end and talks can start only when the protesters end their demonstrations."

    Meanwhile, an army spokesman said if the "red-shirt" protesters stop shooting, so will the army.

    [Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Army Spokesman]: (thai)
    "They have asked the troops to stop shooting. We have been telling them that the authorities will use real bullets only when there is pressure, and when we are attacked. For us to stop shooting is not difficult, but the terrorists must stop attacking the troops first."

    Thai troops maintained a security cordon around thousands of anti-government demonstrators on Tuesday, as gunfire was heard around Bangkok.

    Authorities had warned protesters to leave by 3 p.m. on Monday, but the deadline passed without any action.

    Local television broadcasters aired images of Red Cross workers handing out dried food to Bangkok residents, as supplies ran low due to the military blockade in the area.

    Officials say as of Tuesday, 67 people have been killed since the violence started in April.