Violence spreads to another Bangkok protest site
The Associated Press
BANGKOK — Another anti-government protest site in Thailand's capital was attacked Tuesday following a weekend of violence that left four people dead, including three children, security officials said.
Deputy National Police spokesman Anucha Romyanan said the attack occurred early Tuesday at a protest camp near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok. He said shots were fired from a car and a motorcycle at protest site guards there and at another protest site near the upscale Ratchaprasong shopping area.
On Sunday, a grenade attack at Ratchaprasong killed a 6-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother. A 5-year-old girl died Saturday in another attack on a rally site in the eastern province of Trat.
Anucha said one man was injured in the leg in the Tuesday morning shootings. He did not say if the guards, some of whom are armed, returned fire. At least 20 people have been killed and more than 700 have been hurt since November in violence related to protests demanding that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resign.
On Monday night, a grenade was fired from an M79 launcher near the headquarters of the opposition Democrat Party, which is closely allied with the militant anti-government protest movement. There were no injuries but a car was damaged.
The attacks, for which no one has been arrested, are the latest in a spate of protest-related violence roiling Thailand over the past three months. The protesters want Yingluck to resign to make way for an appointed interim government to implement reforms aimed at ousting her powerful family from politics, but she has refused.
While the protesters have failed repeatedly to force Yingluck out by their self-declared deadlines, they have blocked her from working at her normal offices and sent roving mobs after her, making it difficult for her and Cabinet colleagues to make public appearances. The protesters have succeeded in delaying the completion of an election called by Yingluck, undermining efforts to restore political stability.
Thailand has seen sometimes-violent political conflict since 2006, when then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's billionaire brother, was removed by a military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. Thaksin's supporters and opponents have since taken to the streets for extended periods in a struggle for power.
In 2010, pro-Thaksin "Red Shirts" occupied part of Bangkok for two months and were backed by their own armed militia. More than 90 people were killed in violent confrontations, with the army finally sweeping away the demonstrators.