Bangkok, May 15 (IANS): The Thai army chief Thursday warned anti-government protestors of military action if they did not stop indulging in violence.
The warning came in the wake of political violence returning to the capital city of Bangkok as three anti-government protestors were killed by gunmen, hours before demonstrators hounded the interim prime minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, from a meeting, CNN reported.
"If the situation turns more violent it could lead to riots," Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a national address.
"The Army will have to use military forces to resolve the situation for peace and order."
The attack occurred Thursday afternoon when gunmen on a pickup truck opened fire on a protest camp near the site of Bangkok's Democracy Monument, where anti-government protestors have been camped for months, said Paradon Patthanathabut, Thailand's national security adviser to the prime minister.
Three people were killed in the attack and 23 injured. The fatally injured victims included a 21-year-old man, who was shot in the chest, and a 51-year-old man, Bangkok's Erawan Emergency Centre reported.
Later that morning, anti-government protestors stormed the grounds of an Air Force office compound, forcing the country's caretaker prime minister to flee a meeting with members of the Election Commission.
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 Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin, 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 Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006.