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Red shirt leaders surrender to police. -

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Anti-government protest leaders in Bangkok have surrendered to police after a deadly military
offensive to end long running demonstrations. ABC correspondent Matt Brown reports live from the
Thai capital.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: But first to Thailand, after a day when five more people died on the
streets of Bangkok and anti-Government protest leaders surrendered at police headquarters, after a
deadly military offensive to end long-running demonstrations.

At least four Red Shirt leaders have turned themselves in and asked thousands of supporters in the
protest camp to leave after troops used armoured vehicles to crash through barricades, firing tear
gas, water cannon and live bullets.

But it seems it's not all over yet.

Joining me now from Bangkok for the latest is ABC correspondent Matt Brown.

Well Matt, can you just take me through the day as it unfolded, literally, in front of your eyes

MATT BROWN, REPORTER: Kerry the day began with the troops massing at one of the key barricades that
the protestors had established, basically at the end of a main north-south axis running through
Bangkok. They broadcast warnings for people to get out and to leave the area, but they've heard
that, the protestors, for some days and, indeed, weeks.

Not long after that they actually pushed through the barricades and cleared, very quickly, an area
that was thought to be a stronghold for the protestors. Then they moved further north, up towards
the main protest stage, which is where those Red Shirt protest leaders had been holed up.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So, ah, when the explosions occurred can you just tell me exactly what happened
there, to your understanding?

MATT BROWN: Yeah. I was trailing the soldiers, probably 200 metres or so behind the main front of
them, they'd moved to within 500 metres of the main protest area, their objective, and they'd
started to control a T-intersection coming in from the side, a large number of explosions, I'm told
that soldiers walking in front of some army sappers were actually hit first by an explosive device
that was hidden by the roadside and then possibly by follow-up grenade attacks.

There was a lot of automatic weapons fire, I think, going out from the soldiers towards the
protestors and as they rushed past me I could see, certainly I think at least one soldier dead,
judging by the state of his legs and his guts, and I counted at least four other soldiers taken out
by armoured personnel carriers.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if later tonight that death toll you mentioned at the beginning
actually climbs to include at least one of those soldiers that I saw. That was at around exactly
the same time as these Red Shirt leaders were off handing themselves in to the local police
station.

So, it seems the Government's had a victory, albeit for those soldiers a pyrrhic victory, but a
very, very unstable situation still and a lot of people not knowing what's going on just a few
blocks away.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, in fact, if you'd read the wire service reports a little earlier, it seemed
that the actual action was over, but I think even on your way to this satellite point now you were
still passing spots where fires were still being lit.

MATT BROWN: That's right I mean the access area, the access road to this location is still guarded
heavily by police, lots of razor wire, but on the way here I saw a building which I believe was the
local electricity substation, that's on fire.

I've seen reports that fires were lit at the stock exchange, and what's been happening over the
past few days is that protestors have been leaving this central protest site and actually setting
up other points of protest around Bangkok. So, it'll be interesting to see, tonight, just what
happens and tomorrow whether or not protest centres kinda flair up, if you like, at other points in
the city.

Tonight the Government's imposing a curfew just a few hours from now until 6 o'clock in the
morning, so, I think there'll be a fairly tense time tonight while the Government tries to actually
lock down the city centre and stop other points of protest from springing up.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And of course the big question, Matt, is the Government has refused to engage in any
negotiation until the protestors had cleared the sites, but whether those negotiations actually
engage and whether there is any real scope for them to get to some point where there can be a kind
of mutual agreement is very much in the lap of the gods I would think.

MATT BROWN: Yeah I think before we can work that out we'll have to be sure that the shooting indeed
as stopped and that the Red Shirts, given that there are a number of factions within that protest
movement, have all given up the fight.

It's worth noting that the two sides came close to an agreement for early elections to be held
later this year, a little earlier on this crisis but that fell apart because of disagreements over
timing and different issues about who might be in control of the military when that occurs.

So, a lot of very hard questions about the biggest thing in this country of course, control over
the Government and the armed forces. Those questions not resolved by this military action today.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Matt Brown I know it's been a long and busy day but thanks very much for joining us.
Thanks.