Thai protestors clash with police

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Thai police fired teargas and rubber bullets at anti-government protesters in Bangkok on Thursday after activists tried to upset arrangements for a February election, the clashes broke out after almost two weeks of relative calm.

The row between police and about 500 protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra came a day after the government extended a special security law by two months.

The protesters draw their strength from the south, Bangkok’s middle class and elite, who dismiss Yingluck as a puppet of her self-exiled elder brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a populist hero among millions of poor in the north and northeast whose votes have won his parties every election since 2001.

Yingluck called a snap election for February 2 in an attempt to deflate weeks of mainly peaceful protests that, at their peak, have drawn 200,000 people on to the streets of Bangkok.

The clashes will pile pressure on her government, which has long suspected opponents would use violence to escalate the crisis to try to trigger an intervention, either by the military or judiciary, both of which have been politicized.