Former leader denies murdering protesters

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Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has denied a murder charge brought against him for his role in a bloody military crackdown on anti-government protesters in 2010.

About 100 people, including family members of some those who were killed during the crackdown, gathered yesterday at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Bangkok, part of the Justice Ministry, as Mr Abhisit arrived to meet ­investigators.

Some protesters were dressed in black and held signs saying “blood on your hands”. Some shouted “civilian killer”.

Prosecutors filed murder charges against opposition leader Mr Abhisit and his former deputy prime minister, Suthep Thaugsuban, on 6 December for allowing security forces live ammunition that led to the death of civilians.

“I have denied the charge against me and have asked for clarification on some points,” Mr Abhisit said as he left the DSI. Suthep also denied the charge, a lawyer said.

Thailand has been gripped by waves of violence in recent years between supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and their opponents, largely members of royalist groups who accuse Mr Thaksin of trying to undermine King Bhumibol Adulyadej.