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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Martin Petty BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament on Monday and called a snap election, but anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations in Bangkok seeking to install an unelected body to run the country. Police estimated about 160,000 protesters converged on Yingluck's office at Government House, but there was none of the violence and bloodshed seen before the demonstrations paused last Thursday out of respect for the king's birthday. The protesters want to oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the military in 2006 and has chosen to live in exile rather than serve a jail term for graft. There was a carnival atmosphere as protesters gathered at Government House, with unarmed police and troops inside the gates.
French troops traded fire with former rebels in Central African Republic's capital Bangui on Monday as they sought to disarm fighters after violence in which hundreds have been killed, a peacekeeping force official said. France began operations to disarm, by force if necessary, mainly Muslim Seleka fighters and rival Christian militias on Monday, setting up checkpoints on Bangui's main roads and searching vehicles for weapons. Shooting erupted near the airport after Seleka gunmen refused to hand over their weapons, a spokesman for the Multinational Force of Central Africa (FOMAC) peacekeepers said. Things are going well," Colonel Gilles Jaron said, adding that French troops had already arrested 10 men and seized weapons.