Thai Red-Shirt Protesters Return to Bangkok's Streets

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At least ten thousand anti-government protesters returned to Bangkok's streets on Friday to mark the six-month anniversary of a deadly military crackdown.

They gathered at the same shopping district they occupied during the April to May unrest that killed 91 people and wounded at least 1,800.

[Jatuporn Prompan, Protest Leader]:
"If we think of holding another rally, there would be as many people joining as before, or maybe even more people would come and eventually they would be killed or blamed for violence."

The rally caused traffic disruptions and several of luxury malls in the area closed their front entrances but remained open for business.

The protesters called for fair elections and demanded their leaders to be released.

[Busaba Siriplan, Protester]:
"They should release our leaders by now. Although, we don't have the leaders, we will come to the streets anyway and we will continue fighting."

The Red Shirts are fast regrouping in Bangkok despite nearly eight months of emergency rule under which gatherings of more than five people are banned.

Though technically illegal, Friday's protest was approved to go ahead as long as it was peaceful.