Three killed in Thailand violence

Bangkok, May 15 (IANS/EFE): At least three people were killed and 24 wounded in various attacks against anti-government camps near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, medical services and local media said Thursday.

Several men in a van fired with M16 assault rifles at guards and demonstrators in Khok Hwa intersection early Thursday morning.

Five minutes after the gunfire, the attackers threw two M79 grenades at the anti-government camp, according to the Bangkok Post daily.

A 21-year-old protestor received a bullet in his chest and another in his stomach, while a security guard, 51, was shot in the chest and leg.

The third casualty, whose identity could not be immediately ascertained, died Thursday morning in the hospital where he was admitted for injuries sustained during the incident, The Nation reported.

With this, the number of casualties in the protests that gathered momentum on Nov 25, 2013, went up to 28 and those of wounded to more than 800.

Suthep Thaugsuban, the leader of the protests and former deputy prime minister of Thailand, has urged the senate and the Supreme Court to appoint a new prime minister.

Last week, the Constitution Court of Thailand forced the removal of the leader of the government, Yingluck Shinawatra, and nine ministers for abuse of power.

The demonstrators are demanding that, before fresh elections are held, the political system should be reformed as they consider it to be corrupt and serving the interests of ex-prime minister Thakshin Shinawatra.

Thakshin, Yingluck's elder brother, was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for corruption and now lives in exile.

Meanwhile, the civil organisation United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, whose supporters are commonly called Red Shirts, and government supporters have threatened to start a civil war if their democratic rights are taken away.

Thailand is in a deep political crisis since Thakshin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006.


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