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Blasts Injure 28 protesters in Bangkok

An emergency center in Thailand's capital says at least 28 people have been wounded in two explosions near a camp for anti-government protesters. Seven were seriously hurt.

The Erawan Medical Center, which monitors hospitals in Bangkok, said the wounded were taken to several hospitals across the capital Sunday after two separate blasts occurred near one of the camps at the Victory Monument.

The first explosion is reported to have been a grenade thrown by one of six assailants, and struck near a stage set up by protesters for rallies. Moments later, a blast went off near vendors.

Meanwhile, a protester who was critically wounded in a bomb attack Friday was pronounced dead early Saturday. He was one of dozens of people wounded by an explosion that went off Friday afternoon during a march of anti-government protesters led by opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban.

The attack followed a recent series of drive-by shootings that protesters blame on the government.



Protest leader Suthep, who was not hurt by the blast, is calling for an unelected people's council to replace the current government, which he says is corrupt and engages in nepotism.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra refuses to step down. She insists on holding early elections on February 2, though the opposition has said it will boycott the polls.

Until Friday's attack, last week's protests had been peaceful as police have largely stayed away and avoided conflict. But the protesters have also not been successful at shutting the government down as they had planned.

Thailand has experienced regular political turmoil in recent years. The conflict pits Bangkok's urban middle class and royalist elite against the mostly poor, rural supporters of Ms. Yingluck and her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr. Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, remains very influential in Thailand, even though he was convicted of corruption and lives in self-imposed exile.

Ms. Yingluck's Pheu Thai party is expected to easily win the February vote, thanks to the popularity of her brother and the social welfare programs he enacted.

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