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Thailand shutdown: Army chief calls for calm as protesters plan more rallies

Published on Feb 13, 2014 8:48 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's army chief appealed for calm on Thursday ahead of a long holiday weekend during which organisers of anti-government protests that have paralysed politics have called for thousands to take to the streets.

Protesters have been trying since November to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whom they see as a proxy for her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, the self-exiled former premier who clashed with the establishment and was ousted by the army 2006.

"Every side must tread carefully and refrain from using violence," General Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters after a meeting with the prime minister at which he reiterated that the military was resolved to stay neutral in the crisis.

"If any side uses weapons and the other side reacts, violence will increase and security forces will have to intervene."

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