Thailand denies sending fleeing villagers back to Myanmar

MAE SAM LAEP, Thailand (AP) — Thailand’s prime minister is denying that his country’s security forces are sending villagers back to Myanmar who fled from military airstrikes and says his government is ready to shelter anyone who is escaping fighting. His comments came a day after humanitarian groups said the Thai military had begun sending back some of the thousands of people who have fled a series of airstrikes by Myanmar’s military. The weekend strikes were another escalation in the violent crackdown by Myanmar’s junta on protests against its Feb. 1 takeover. At least 510 protesters have been killed since the coup, according to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Protests continued Tuesday despite the deaths of more than 100 people on Saturday alone.