Around Asia: Bangkok blasts wound at least 28 at anti-gov’t demonstration

In Other News - January 20th, 2014
bangkok-protests

At least 28 people were wounded after two explosions tore through an anti-government rally in central Bangkok, the latest violence to hit the besieged Thai capital.

The twin blasts on Sunday near Victory Monument, one of many sites blockaded by anti-government protesters, were triggered by fragmentation grenades, police said. The device was reportedly used in a similar incident Friday, which killed one man and wounded dozens.

Sunday’s explosions occurred within two minutes of each other, witnesses said. The first blast went off about 100–200 meters from a stage set up by protesters, followed by a blast near a row of vendors selling T-shirts in the streets.

According to the Associated Press, police have targeted a man wearing a black baseball cap who was caught by CCTV hurling one of the grenades toward a tent behind the stage. He threw a second grenade before fleeing by motorcycle.

Both authorities and demonostrators blamed each other for the Friday and Sunday bombings as the political crisis drags on.

Although the vast majority of Bangkok remains calm, near-daily clashes between political factions continue to rattle the capital.

Anti-government protesters vowed to overthrow the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and derail February 2 elections. Yingluck, accused by protesters of bowing to her brother and ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra’s control, called the snap elections in a bid to quell the political unrest.

Suthep Thaugsuban, who led the protests, called for demonstrators to press on with their efforts to “choke off” the government by surrounding ministries and official agencies.

“Please, my fellow countrymen, please rise up and do our job, which is stop this wicked government from functioning,” Suthep, who was nearby when the explosion ripped through Friday’s demonstrations, said in a speech Saturday.

Thailand’s military chief called for both sides to negotiate an end to the bloodshed.

“Now all of us need to help each other in taking care of our own nation,” said Thanasak Patimapakorn, supreme armed forces commander.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image of Bangkok protests in 2008: craig.martell/Flickr