Thai clashes death toll climbs to 21
Defiant "Red Shirt" Thai protesters vowed yesterday to keep up their bid to topple the government, after the country's worst political violence in almost two decades left 21 dead and over 800 injured.
Protest leaders, who have promised to maintain their campaign until the government dissolves parliament and calls fresh elections, demanded Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva step down and leave the country.
Seventeen civilians, including a Japanese TV cameraman, and four soldiers were killed in Saturday's crackdown on the red-shirted supporters of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra in Bangkok, the emergency services told AFP.
On Sunday evening Reds gathered to mourn the loss of their comrades at the city's Democracy Monument -- the scene of a fierce battle on Saturday -- where grieving relatives led a procession holding up gold-framed pictures of the dead.
They were followed by crying men carrying caskets, a couple containing bodies draped with Thai flags and flowers. Some on looking protesters prayed and others waved red banners.
It was the latest chapter in years of turmoil pitting the ruling elite against the mainly poor and rural Reds, who say the government is illegitimate as it came to power in 2008 after a court ousted Thaksin's allies from power.