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'Red Shirts' mark anniversary of 2006 coup in Thailand

From Kocha Olarn, CNN
Anti-goverment protesters march in Bangkok on Sunday to mark the anniversary of 2006 coup.
Anti-goverment protesters march in Bangkok on Sunday to mark the anniversary of 2006 coup.
  • Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a bloodless coup
  • Anti-government demonstrators gathered Sunday to mark the anniversary of his ouster
  • The demonstrations conjured images of a monthslong protest earlier this year
  • 91 people were killed and 2,000 injured in a crackdown in May

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- More than 10,000 anti-government demonstrators gathered in the heart of Bangkok's shopping district Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary of a bloodless coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The peaceful demonstration lasted about four hours under scattered rain. One of the city's main intersections was again flooded with "Red Shirt" demonstrators -- so named for the color of their clothing -- resembling the picture when the group occupied the area from March to May until a crackdown by the government's security forces that left 91 people dead and more than 2,000 injured.

The crowd chanted "there are deaths here!"

Several symbolic activities were performed by the demonstrators, including tying red robes and forming a giant spider web, lying on the street to represent the dead, and lighting red candles around the area. Balloons tied with letters were released into the sky.

Red Shirt leader Sombat Boon-ngamanong, who organized the demonstration, told his supporters to leave the area around 5 p.m. (6 a.m. ET), although some people lingered. The demonstration ended peacefully.

Similar activities were held in Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, and in the north and northeastern parts of the country, according to local media.

Bangkok and six other provinces remain under emergency rule, which the government imposed in April. The decree allows authorities to detain suspects without formal charges up to three months.

The Red Shirts support Thaksin, who was ousted in a bloodless military coup in 2006 while he was attending a U.N. assembly. His supporters protested for weeks, demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve parliament and call new elections.

Thaksin briefly returned to Thailand to fight a corruption charge, but fled again in 2008. He left before Thailand's Supreme Court convicted him of abusing his power and purchasing land owned by his wife.