Thai troops armed with assault rifles moved into Bangkok's central business district Monday morning to stop thousands of anti-government protesters and threatening to march down the capital's "Wall Street."
The government had earlier declared Silom Road, a thoroughfare studded with bank headquarters and office buildings, off-limits to the protesters who have camped in the capital's main shopping district nearby for weeks.
Troops initially blocked entry into the road, popularly known as Thailand's Wall Street, but then pulled back almost half its 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) length to protect a key target of the protesters, the headquarters of the Bangkok Bank which was barricaded by barbed wire. Many of the demonstrators, who had earlier faced-off against the troops across an intersection, also pulled back.
The so-called "Red Shirts" claim the bank has close ties to the government. They have protested in front of the building previously on a smaller scale.