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Anti-government protests in Thailand resume after a day off

By CNN Wire staff
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Red shirts shut down festival
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Anti-government protestors vowed to resume protests on Wednesday
  • Demonstrators celebrated first day of Thai New Year holiday on Tuesday
  • Clashes with police on April 10 left 21 people dead

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Anti-government protesters planned to rally again Wednesday, after taking a day off to celebrate the Thai New Year.

Natthawut Saikuea, a leader with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, said protesters may march to the Army's 11th infantry regiment headquarters -- where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been staying.

The anti-government protesters have been demanding for days that Abhisit dissolve the lower house of the parliament and call new elections.

On Tuesday, the demonstrators who have camped out by the thousands at a major downtown intersection celebrated the first day of the three-day Thai New Year's holiday Songkran by throwing water at each other. The act is a ritualistic gesture meant to cleanse one another for the new year.

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The government, on the other hand, canceled festivities related to the festivals -- citing the spiraling protests.

On Saturday, clashes between anti-government protesters and Thai security forces killed 21 people and wounded more than 850, the Bangkok Emergency Medical Service said. Of the dead, 17 were civilians and four were military personnel, the center said.

The anti-government group is comprised 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.