|Waves of anti-government protests have rocked Bangkok over the past three years [Reuters]
Thailand's government has declared a state of emergency in and around Bangkok as Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister, struggled to crack down on protesters demanding his resignation.
Here are the key events leading up to the latest troubles beginning in 2006:
September 19, 2006: Weeks of escalating anti-government protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) lead to a bloodless coup that ousts the prime minister, former telecoms tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra.
Protesters accuse Thaksin of corruption, abuse of power and suppressing free speech.
|The 2006 coup ousting Thaksin Shinawatra ushered in a year of military rule [EPA]
The coup sends Thaksin into self-imposed exile and ushers in more than a year of military rule.
December 23: In elections intended to restore democracy, The People's Power Party, comprised of Thaksin allies, wins elections.
February. A new coalition government is announced headed by Samak Sundaravej. Thaksin and his wife Pojaman return to Thailand saying they plan to clear their name of corruption charges.
May 25, 2008: The PAD movement relaunches street protests.
August 11: Thaksin and his wife flee the country, saying they will not get a fair trial.
August 26: Tens of thousands of PAD protesters raid a Bangkok TV station, surround three ministries and set up camp at the prime minister's Government House offices, demanding Samak resigns.
September 9: Samak is removed from office after court rules his appearance on a TV cooking show constitutes a conflict of interest.
September 17: Parliament names Somchai Wongsawat, Thaksin's brother-in-law, is as prime minister. PAD protesters vow to continue demonstrations saying Somchai is a Thaksin puppet.
October 7: Bangkok's worst street violence in 16 years erupts as police clash with thousands of PAD demonstrators who had blockaded parliament. Two people are killed and nearly 500 injured.
October 21: Thaksin is sentenced in absentia to two years in jail after being found guilty of conflict of interest.
November 20: A grenade attack on PAD protesters outside Government House in Bangkok kills two people and injures dozens. Four days later a massive PAD protest outside parliament forces the postponement of a key session.
|The blockade of Bangkok's airports badly damaged Thailand's tourism industry [AFP]
November 25: PAD protesters, now known as "yellow shirts" because of their trademark attire, take over Bangkok's domestic and international airports, halting flights for eight days and stranding tens of thousands of passengers. The blockade badly damaged Thailand's vital tourism industry.
December 2: Somchai is forced out of office after Thailand's constitutional court dissolves the People's Power Party and two of its coalition partners over vote fraud. In response the PAD ends its airport blockade.
December 15: With backing from former Thaksin allies, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva wins a parliamentary vote to become the kingdom's third prime minister in four months.
December 29: Thaksin supporters begin first rallies against the new prime minister, blocking access to parliament and forcing him to delay his maiden speech.
January 25: Thaksin makes video address to supporters, accusing Abhisit's government of copying his populist policies.
March 26: Thaksin supporters clad in trademark red shirts call mass rallies in Bangkok to demand Abhisit step down and hold fresh elections. Thaksin spurs on protests with regular addresses from exile by telephone and video link.
|Despite his self-imposed exile Thaksin remains a key player in Thai politics [GALLO/GETTY]
April 10: With thousands of protesters causing gridlock in parts of Bangkok, a separate group of red shirts head to the beach resort of Pattaya, where 16 Asian leaders are meeting for a major summit.
April 11: Thousands of anti-government protesters storm the venue for the Asian summit, forcing authorities to cancel the meeting and humiliating Abhisit, the summit's host. A state of emergency is declared as foreign leaders are evacuated. Some leave by helicopter from their hotel roof.
April 12: A state of emergency is declared in Bangkok and its surrounding areas as new anti-government demonstrations spring up. Protest leader Arisman Pongreungrong is arrested.
April 13: Troops use tear gas and fire live rounds as they move to clear red shirt protests from key Bangkok intersections. Dozens are reported injured in the clashes.