Briton arrested in Thailand over mass protests

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A second British man has been arrested in Thailand for alleged involvement in violent anti-government "Red Shirt" protests earlier this year, police said Thursday.

Keith Wayne Bush, 49, from Manchester was arrested on arson charges at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday after arriving on a flight from the United Arab Emirates, according to immigration police.

His Thai wife, Alisa Bush, 33, was also arrested after she went to the airport to meet him.

A court in northern Chiang Mai province approved arrest warrants for the pair on May 28 for allegedly trying to burn down a town hall, participating in an illegal rally and inciting unrest," said Police Colonel Pakpong Sai-ubon.

"Both denied all the charges," he said.

Pakpong said the Briton fled Thailand shortly before the arrest warrant was approved.

He is the third Westerner to be arrested in connection with the protests, which sparked a series of clashes between demonstrators and armed troops in April and May, leaving 91 people dead and almost 1,900 wounded.

Another Briton and an Australian served six weeks in prison and were released after pleading guilty to violating a state of emergency through their participation in the mass rally, which was seeking immediate elections.

Unrest paralysed much of the capital in April and May, while militant demonstrators set dozens of buildings ablaze including the stock exchange and Central World department store after an army crackdown.

Thai authorities have used their emergency powers to arrest hundreds of suspects, including many top Red Shirts.

© 2010 AFP

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