Campaigners in central Bangkok plead for peace

People hold candles and a placard during an anti-violence campaign in central Bangkok

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Thailand on Friday played down talk of a military coup ahead of a planned "shutdown" of the capital next week by protesters trying to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Demonstrators led by former opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban aim to paralyze the capital for between 15 and 20 days by blocking seven main intersections, causing gridlock in a city clogged with traffic at the best of times. The turmoil is the latest episode in an eight-year conflict that pits Bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly poorer, rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. (Reuters)

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