Thai PM leaves Bangkok as bombs, gunfire punctuate unrest

BANGKOK Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:25pm EST

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the target of anti-government protesters who have blocked parts of Bangkok for weeks, has left the capital and is staying 150 km (90 miles) away, her office said on Monday, without specifying the location.

The protests, punctuated by occasional bomb blasts and gunfire, are aimed at unseating Yingluck and erasing the influence of her brother, ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, regarded by many as the real power behind the government.

Yingluck's office told reporters she was not in Bangkok and asked media to follow a convoy outside the city where they said Yingluck was "undertaking official duties" 150 km away.

The office would not confirm how many days Yingluck had been working from outside the Thai capital. She was last seen in public in Bangkok on Tuesday and is due to attend a corruption hearing in the capital on Thursday.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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