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Streets quiet but protest plan is made ready

Protesters trying to topple Thailand's government kept off the street yesterday after halting their demonstration the day before for the king's birthday.

But clashes were reported overnight night, one at the occupied Finance Ministry, with three people injured.

Leaders of the movement met at a sprawling government office centre they occupy to debate how to breathe fresh life into their campaign. They show no sign of giving up though protest numbers have shrunk.

The protests are the latest part of a conflict pitting the ­Bangkok-based royalist establishment against poorer Thais loyal to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, toppled by the military in 2006 and living in self-imposed exile.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban was due to address supporters last night. A spokeswoman for the movement, said: "He will announce the plan from now until December 9, which is our ultimate deadline. There will be activities this weekend and we will fight harder than ever before."

The protesters have missed successive deadlines for forcing Yingluck out. From Sunday to Tuesday they launched a wave of attacks on her office at Government House and other state buildings.

Police stepped aside on Tuesday and allowed them in, defusing the confrontation. The protesters stayed only briefly in the grounds of the offices they had been trying to storm before pulling back to their rally sites.

Five people have died in the political violence since last weekend, all apparently in clashes between government supporters and opponents. Scores of people have been hurt, most through inhaling teargas.

Police and government medical staff said three people were injured in two incidents overnight.

"At least one was sent for emergency medical treatment at Rajavithi hospital. He was injured at the Finance Ministry and his wound appears to be a gunshot wound," said Pornthep Saeheng, an official at the Erawan emergency centre.

Protesters have been occupying the ministry since November 25.

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Local government

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