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Protesters to trim Bangkok presence

A Thai antigovernment protester cheered for leader Suthep Thaugsuban at a rally in Bangkok on Friday.

Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

A Thai antigovernment protester cheered for leader Suthep Thaugsuban at a rally in Bangkok on Friday.

BANGKOK — The antigovernment protesters who once threatened to shut down Thailand’s capital said Friday they will significantly scale back their presence in the streets, in what could be a prelude to eased tensions.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said in his nightly speech that the protesters would withdraw from several stages erected at key intersections around Bangkok.

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Political violence escalated in the past week with almost nightly grenade attacks and the deaths of four children last weekend in attacks on protest sites.

Twenty-two people have been killed and hundreds have been wounded in connection with the protests since November.

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Suthep described the planned move as a token of appreciation for Bangkok residents putting up with the inconvenience, saying his People’s Democratic Reform Committee acted not because the government sought to chase them out ‘‘but because we care about Bangkok and would like to return it to its owner.’’

Associated Press

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