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Hundreds Injured in Thai Protests

Thailand suffered its worst political violence in more than 16 years as police battled protesters who besieged the Parliament Tuesday in their struggle to change the country's system of democracy.

One woman died and more than 400 people were injured, according to the New York Times.

The army moved into the streets of the capital, Bangkok, while most of the protesters eventually left the area around Parliament and regrouped on the grounds of the prime minister's office, which they have occupied since Aug. 26.

The violence heightened the political uncertainty that has bedeviled Thailand since early 2006, when large protests called for Thaksin Shinawatra, the tycoon-turned-prime minister, to step down for alleged corruption and abuse of power.

The protesters, calling themselves the People's Alliance for Democracy, include royalists, wealthy and middle-class urban residents and union activists, all of whom feel threatened by political and social change, including globalization that hits their pockets (Yahoo! News).

Another erupted in the late afternoon with authorities firing countless volleys of tear gas to clear a path for lawmakers to leave.

Protesters also used iron rods, slingshots, firecrackers, rocks and bottles to attack the police. In an assault filmed by Thai television network NBT, a pickup truck plowed into a squad of policemen on a sidewalk. Rioters torched parked cars, trucks and vans (Yahoo! News).

The violence was confined to a small area near the part of the city housing most government offices.
At least five major confrontations with police left 410 people injured, 66 of whom were hospitalized, medical authorities said.

Several people lost legs. Demonstrators charged police had used grenades; authorities denied it (Yahoo! News).