Ambika Ahuja and Nick Macfie
April 16, 2010

Thai anti-government protest leaders staged a dramatic escape from police on Friday after the authorities vowed to crack down on “terrorists” ahead of a planned televised address by the prime minister.

One protest leader slid down a rope from a balcony, while others were rescued from riot police by hundreds of “red shirts”, who heavily outnumbered security forces at a Bangkok hotel owned by the family of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had been due to hold his first news conference in four days at 1 p.m. (0600 GMT) but it was delayed. No reason was given.

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