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Anyone who has ever backpacked through the land of smiles knows that the Thai people love their king (or at least put his picture everywhere). The world's longest-reigning monarch doesn't normally involve himself in the country's messy political upheavals, but King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 82, is finally speaking out after seven weeks of sometimes lethal protests.

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Thousands of anti-government protesters rallied in front of the Thai parliament on Wednesday demanding new elections. The demonstration forced legislators to pack it in and some of the Red Shirt protesters smashed through the compound’s gates, though they left shortly thereafter.

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