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Govt signals compromise with Thai protestors -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The Thai government is signalling it could compromise with opposition
protestors who've crippled the capital Bangkok and fought off an attempt by soldiers to disperse
them.

After 21 were killed and more than 800 injured in clashes, there are reports the prime minister
could dissolve the parliament and hold elections in six months.

But the Red Shirts are demanding an immediate poll, as ABC correspondent Mark Willacy reports from
Bangkok.

MARK WILLACY, ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Having fought of the soldiers, the Red Shirts were back on the
streets, this time in a funeral procession for their dead comrades.

Suwimon Fungkrinjun lost a son in the clashes.

SUWIMON FUNGKRINJUN, VICTIM'S MOTHER (translated): I'm sad but at the same time, I'm glad that my
son is a hero.

(Shouting and gunfire)

MARK WILLACY: The protestors accused the army of firing live rounds into the crowd, an allegation
which appears to be supported by photos and videos posted on the Internet.

One shows a demonstrator being hit in the head by a high-velocity round.

The government denies the soldiers shot live bullets, except in the air and in self-defence.

PANITAN WATTANAYAGORN, GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: There's no injury caused from a live bullet from the
officers.

MARK WILLACY: The government is making accusations of its own, alleging that some of the Red Shirts
were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and that soldiers were shot at as they retreated.

ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA, THAI PRIME MINISTER (on television report, translated): They're a group of
people that can be considered terrorists using their innocent fellow citizens who came to call for
democracy and justice to incite unrest to bring a significant change in the country.

MARK WILLACY: For now, the Red Shirts are holding their ground while troupes are in retreat but the
government warns they could launch a fresh assault.

PANITAN WATTANAYAGORN: We are asking the officers to return to their bases, to refresh, to recount
and to be ready.

MARK WILLACY: Not only are the troups in retreat, so too are some of prime minister Abhisit
Vejjajiva's coalition partners. They're now demanding elections within a month.

There are reports the government's prepared to call a poll in six months, but it's doubtful the
prime minister and his government will survive that long.

Mark Willacy, Lateline.