News / Asia

Blasts Injure 28 Protesters in Bangkok

Thai policemen check the scene following an explosion near a camp of anti-government protesters at the Victory monument in central Bangkok, Jan. 19, 2014.
Thai policemen check the scene following an explosion near a camp of anti-government protesters at the Victory monument in central Bangkok, Jan. 19, 2014.
Ron Corben
A daytime grenade attack on an anti-government rally site in Thailand has left more than two dozen wounded, pointing to an escalation in violence as political tensions rise. The bloodshed has led to senior army commanders calling for negotiations amid fears of further attacks by armed groups.
 
The attack Sunday at the anti-government rally site in central Bangkok came in the early afternoon when six men threw grenades, leaving at least 28 people wounded and taken to nearby hospitals.
 
The violence follows a grenade attack Friday on a march led by protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban that left three dozen wounded. One man later died in the hospital from his injuries.

  • An anti-government protester wears a mask made of "No Vote" stickers as he marches with others through Bangkok, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban greets the crowd as he leads anti-government protesters marching through Bangkok, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Police try to clear a main street for an anti-government protest march in Bangkok, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters with national flags gather for a rally in Bangkok, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters hold placards during a march through central Bangkok, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester holds a national flag in front of a portrait of Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, during a rally, Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters chain the gate of an office for the Land Transportation Department in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • Riot police stand guard inside the compound of the Thai Royal Police Club in Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • An anti-government protester plays a guitar near a barricade outside the compound of the Thai Royal Police Club in Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • A girl reacts at an anti-government rally in central Bangkok, Jan. 28, 2014.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political scientist and security analyst at Chulalongkorn University, says the attacks reflect heightened tensions after more than two months of anti-government protests.

"The situation is getting more and more intense," said Panitan. "This is the second time I think the attack has been during the broad daylight and you see some reports suggesting that of the six suspects at least two of them can be identified - there were several witnesses so the police need to work on that very quickly."

Panitan said the attack points to efforts by hardline groups to intimidate protestors at the largely peaceful rallies. Intelligence sources say the Thai military and police are seeking to track down several hundred men capable of launching attacks.
 
On Sunday, Supreme Armed Forces commander, General Tanasak Patimapragon, called on both sides to enter talks to avert a further escalation of violence.
 
The latest attack comes almost a week after Suthep and his People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) launched a campaign to "shut down" Bangkok and further pressure Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down and postpone general elections scheduled for February 2.
 
The PDRC has accused Yingluck's government of being under the control of her older brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
 
At rally sites Saturday night, thousands of protestors that gathered marked a vigil for the 46-year-old man who died after the Friday grenade attack. But protesters appeared emboldened. Businessman Preechapol Sereeviriyakul says despite the concerns, the anti-government campaign should press on.
 
"I feel bad about the death but we need to fight with the corruption and the government we need to get rid of the Shinawatra family that has power in Thailand because there are many projects that damage Thailand," he said.
 
Thaksin, ousted in a 2006 coup, has lived overseas since 2008 to avoid a jail term for corruption. The current protests began after the ruling Pheu Thai Party presented a blanket amnesty bill to parliament in October that was seen as favoring Yingluck's brother. The bill was later voted down by the Senate.
 
Thailand has been immersed in political violence for the past eight years, largely between pro- and anti-Thaksin supporters. Thaksin gained widespread support from the rural poor and urban working class, with a voting base backed by a movement known as Red Shirts.
 
Red Shirt protesters staged massive rallies in 2010 in central Bangkok against a Democrat Party-led government. A series of clashes and an army crackdown after two months of protests left more than 90 people dead - mostly civilians - and hundreds wounded. This time, the Thai army is more reluctant to intervene, fearing more bloodshed.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs