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    Thai high court affirms guilt of 2009 Pattaya rioters

    BANGKOK (AP) – Thailand’s Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the prison sentences of 12 members of the “Red Shirt” political movement convicted in connection with rioting that disrupted an important regional conference in 2009. The 12 had received four-year prison sentences for their actions on April 11, 2009, when supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra seeking to force out a government of their opponents stormed a hotel in the resort city of Pattaya hosting the ASEAN summit meeting.

    The ASEAN leaders were forced to flee, some by helicopter, and the summit was postponed.

    The defendants were convicted on charges of sedition, illegal assembly, damaging property and trespassing.

    Yesterday’s ruling reversed the conviction of a 13th defendant.

    The 2009 unrest was one of a series of violent confrontations that followed Thaksin’s 2006 ouster from power by a military coup.

    It set off years of struggle for power between Thaksin’s supporters and opponents, both of whom engaged in aggressive street protests against governments led by the other’s faction.

    ‘Red Shirt’ protesters march through the 14th ASEAN Convention Center in Pattaya, Thailand. PHOTO: AP

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