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Thai protesters demand government reopen TV station

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Red Shirts defy government
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • PTV station closed after government declared state of emergency Wednesday
  • Thai PM says purpose of emergency is to restore peace and order
  • Bans publishing, broadcasting information considered national security threat
  • Protesters vow to intensify campaign unless prime minister dissolves parliament

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Anti-government protesters in Thailand are set to protest again Friday, having demanded officials reopen their television station, which was shut down amid accusations of misinformation.

Nation TV showed the anti-government protesters, known as the "red shirts," in a standoff with the military. They demanded the government reopen the PTV station, which was closed down shortly after the government declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the station was shut down "to restore peace and order and to stop the spreading of false information to the Thai public."

The emergency measures ban the publishing, broadcasting or spreading information considered a threat to national security.

Demonstrations affected Thai stocks, which plunged by more than 24 points, about 3 percent, after the government declared the state of emergency.

Video: 'Red shirt' protests continue in Thailand
Video: State of emergency in Thailand
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Officials issued the emergency decree not long after demonstrators stormed the country's parliament. It allows authorities to take actions without court orders, such as summoning people, arresting and detaining people, and embarking on searches.

Abhisit said the measure is effective in Bangkok and nearby provinces. The opposition has encouraged people in Bangkok and provincial regions to join their protests.

Suthep Thaugsuban, deputy prime minister, made a televised announcement after the state of emergency was declared demanding that demonstrators leave protest grounds immediately. The government is offering transportation for those who want to return home.

But demonstrators vowed Wednesday to intensify protests unless Vejjajiva dissolves parliament.

After protesters stormed into the parliament building they then dispersed to regroup at their main gathering places at Phan Fa Bridge and Rajaprasong Intersection.

The group, United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, is made up of supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a bloodless military coup in 2006. He fled the country in 2008 while facing trial on corruption charges that he says were politically motivated. He remains hugely popular.

The protesters say Abhisit was not democratically elected and have demanded that he call elections.