A man has been shot dead and several others wounded during increasingly violent political protests in the Thai capital. Thaweesak Photkaew, a 21-year-old protester, was killed “by two bullets to his left side”, police said.
The violence flared near Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium which was hosting a rally by thousands of Red Shirts, who support embattled Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The Red Shirts – who also back Ms Yingluck’s brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra – had gathered en masse to ward of any coup attempt against the government.
At least five people were also wounded by gunshots and five others were injured by knives or rocks, officials at the nearby Dr Panya General Hospital said.
It was not immediately known who fired the shots or whether the victims were supporters or opponents of the government.
Those seeking to topple the government also attacked several people they believed were going to the rally. Two people were badly beaten and two buses attacked, their windows smashed. One protester used an iron rod with a Thai flag wrapped around it to smash the driver’s side window of one bus. The buses and one taxi appeared to have been targeted because they carried people wearing Red Shirts.
Police claimed soon afterwards they had the situation under control. But after dark, attacks continued on individual Red Shirts, and the crowds on both sides grew.
With a Sunday deadline set by demonstrators for the ousting of the government, police called for military backup to protect parliament and Ms Yingluck’s office, Government House. Protesters there tore down stone and razor-wire barriers ahead of a planned move to occupy it.
Demonstrators briefly occupied the headquarters of the army on Friday, urging it to join them in a complex power struggle centred on the enduring political influence of Ms Yingluck’s billionaire brother.
The tension heightens a nearly decade-long conflict that broadly pits Thailand’s traditional establishment of top generals, royalists and the urban middle class against the mostly rural, northern supporters of Mr Thaksin.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told supporters late on Friday to surround the headquarters of the national and city police, along with Government House and even a zoo on Sunday.
“We need to break the law a little bit to achieve our goals,” said Mr Suthep, a deputy prime minister in the previous government, ousted by Ms Yingluck in a 2011 election.
A crowd of about 2,000 people massed outside state-owned telecommunications companies on Saturday and Mr Suthep has urged his followers to move on the ministries of labour, foreign affairs, education and interior.
Source : Yahoo