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Anti-Government Protesters Paralyze Thailand’s Capital

Anti-government protesters took over key intersections in central Bangkok Monday, halting much of the traffic into the Thai capital's main business district as part of a months-long campaign to overthrow the democratically elected prime minister.

The intensified protests, which could last weeks or more, were peaceful and even festive, as people sporting "Shutdown Bangkok" T-shirts blew whistles, waved Thai flags and spread out picnic mats to eat on the pavement.

Image: Anti-government protests in Bangkok on Monday
Anti-government protesters take to the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday. Ed Wray / Getty Images

Still, the protests raise the stakes in a long-running crisis that has killed at least eight people in the last two months and fueled fears of more bloodshed to come and a possible army coup.

The army commander has said he doesn't want to be drawn into the conflict, which broadly pits the urban middle and upper class opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra against her supporters in the poorer countryside.

Overnight, an unidentified gunman opened fire on protesters camped near a vast government complex, shooting one man in the neck who was admitted to a nearby hospital, according to the city's emergency medical services. The drive-by was the third of its kind since Jan. 6.