Thai crisis deepens as PM's supporters weigh in

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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Aubrey Belford BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's red-shirted supporters said on Wednesday they were ready to defend her government in the streets from royalist-backed protesters seeking to install unelected leaders. The warning by Thailand's mostly working poor "red shirts" highlights the risks of a crisis fuelled by middle-class anger at the electoral and legislative power of the Shinawatra family, revered as populist heroes in the vote-rich north and northeast. The turmoil has veered from violent protests in which five people were killed and more than 300 wounded to occupations of government buildings and, in recent days, bewildering statements by Suthep Thaugsuban, a firebrand politician who quit the mainstream opposition to lead the protesters. "If a plane crashed with the whole cabinet in it and they all died, Thailand would still go on," Suthep said, describing himself as an "ambassador of the people" before a crowd of 2,500, one of the smallest since his campaign started.