• Shibir man killed in Satkhira clash
  • 13 foreigners among 21 killed in Kabul restaurant attack
  • India stampede kills 18 in Mumbai
  • Despite election concerns, US moves ahead with Bangladesh
  • US again condemns attacks on Hindu community
  • Prime suspect of Noor attack dead
  • UP chairman killed in Natore
  • Burn victims to be rehabilitated: Nasim
  • ‘BNP must rescue democracy’
  • Indian minister’s wife died 'unnatural death'
  • Upazila polls in February
  • Shun terrorist acts if want to do politics: PM to BNP-Jamaat
  • Revolutionary change will take place in communications sector: Obaidul Quader
  • Pakistan not to comment on Bangladesh war crimes trial
HOME  INTERNATIONAL
  
Print Friendly and PDF

Blast targets Bangkok protest rally

Associated Press . Bangkok

Anti-government protesters help a fellow protester injured in a grenade attack during a rally in Bangkok on Friday. — Reuters photo Anti-government protesters help a fellow protester injured in a grenade attack during a rally in Bangkok on Friday. — Reuters photo

Dozens of people were wounded in Thailand’s capital Friday when a grenade blast ripped through a crowd of marching anti-government demonstrators, an ominous development that raises tensions in the country’s political crisis and the spectre of more bloodshed to come.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban was in the procession but was not wounded when the explosive device was thrown toward a truck driven by demonstrators that was several dozen meters ahead of him, spokesman Akanat Promphan said.
The city’s emergency services centre said 36 people were injured, most not seriously, although one man was in surgery.
Thailand has been wracked by repeated bouts of unrest since the military ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 amid charges of corruption and alleged disrespect for the monarchy. The crisis boiled over again late last year after the ruling party attempted to push through an amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return from exile.
Anti-government demonstrators seeking to oust Thaksin’s sister, prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, have taken over seven key roads and overpasses in Bangkok this week, blocking them off with walls of sandbags, tires and steel barricades.
The protests, which are also aimed at derailing February 2 elections that Yingluck called in a bid to diffuse the crisis, have been peaceful. But assaults have been reported nightly, including shooting attacks at protest venues and small explosives hurled at the homes of top protest supporters. It is unclear who is behind them.
Prolonged violence, even on a small scale, increases the risk of a military coup, which would benefit the protest movement. Thailand’s army has seized power 11 times since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
Police said the grenade thrown at the marchers Friday was hurled from the direction of one of several nearby abandoned buildings.
Witnesses said panicked people began running away after the blast, while some helped carry victims with blood dripping from their arms and legs. A damaged pickup truck sat idle, its front tires flat and gasoline from a ruptured tank spilling across the road near splotches of blood.
The buildings were quickly searched by protesters armed with wooden sticks. Soldiers and a police explosive ordnance disposal team combed the area, finding five walkie-talkies, several knives, rifle parts and a pair of flashlights.
Overnight, two motorcycle-riding men drove past the residence of Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra and hurled a grenade inside, according to police Colonel Samarn Rodkamnerd. Sukhumbhand, a member of the Democrat Party which is backing the protesters, was not home and no injuries or serious damage were reported.
The attack was similar to another grenade attack on the home of Abhisit Vejjajiva, a former Democrat prime minister whose party lost to Yingluck’s in a 2011 vote.
The violence comes as pressure mounts against Yingluck to resign. She is facing new legal troubles after the National Anti-Corruption Commission announced late Thursday that it had found grounds to investigate allegations that Yingluck was criminally negligent in her handling of what the government has described as a deal to export surplus rice to China. The commission has already determined that there are grounds to press charges against her former commerce minister and more than a dozen other officials.
If found guilty, Yingluck would be forced to resign.
Yingluck’s supporters fear the move is part of a legal push by opponents to oust her. After her brother Thaksin was toppled in 2006, court rulings forced two other pro-Thaksin heads of government from power.
The rice pledging scheme is one of several populist policies the ruling Pheu Thai party campaigned on before winning the 2011 vote that brought Yingluck to office.
Under the policy, the government buys rice at above-market prices from rice farmers, mostly in the north and northeast, and attempts to sell it to other countries. Critics say the government has been deliberately opaque in its transactions and warn the policy will bring the country to the brink of financial ruin. Last year, Thailand lost its place as the world’s leading rice producer.
Yingluck’s opponents, largely from the south and urban middle and upper classes, say she is carrying on the practices of her billionaire brother by using the family fortune and state funds to influence voters and cement her grip on power.
But she has widespread support among Thailand’s poor majority in the countryside because of the populist policies carried out by her brother, who lives in self-imposed exile to avoid being imprisoned on a corruption conviction.
Since the latest wave protests started in November, at least eight people have been killed and more than 480 have been injured.
Despite the pressures, Yingluck has said repeatedly that the Feb. 2 parliamentary election will go ahead.
Her opponents don’t want an election because they know that her rural supporters would almost certainly give her victory. Instead, they are calling for an unelected ‘people’s council’ to replace the government and amend laws to fight corruption in politics.




Reader’s Comment

comments powered by Disqus
   

Blast targets Bangkok protest rally

Anti-government protesters help a fellow protester injured in a grenade attack during a rally in Bangkok on Friday. — Reuters photo
Dozens of people were wounded in Thailand’s capital Friday when a grenade blast ripped through a crowd of marching anti-government demonstrators, an ominous development that raises tensions in the country’s political crisis and... Full story

Sonia opposes naming Rahul premier choice

Indian Congress Party vice president Rahul Gandhi, left, talks with Congress Party president, his mother Sonia Gandhi, right, during the All India Congress Committee meeting in New Delhi on Friday. — AFP photo
Indian political matriarch Sonia Gandhi Friday refused to bow to her struggling party’s pleas to nominate her son as its prime ministerial candidate in upcoming elections, which she called a battle to save the Hindu-majority nation’s secular identity. Full story

NSA collects millions of text messages globally

The US National Security Agency has been gathering nearly 200 million text messages a day from around the world, gathering data on people’s travel plans, contacts and credit card transactions, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday. Full story

Syria offers to swap prisoners with rebels

Syria said on Friday it was ready to swap prisoners with the rebels and would take swift steps that could lead to the first such mass exchange in nearly three years of fighting. The announcement by Syrian... Full story

S Sudan refugee numbers may soon pass 1,000,00: UN

South Sudanese refugees wait at a Sudanese border checkpoint in Joda, where Sudan’s White Nile state meets the South’s Upper Nile, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces on Thursday. — AFP photo
The number of South Sudanese fleeing their violence-wracked nation for severely overcrowded refugee camps in neighbouring countries could exceed 100,000 by the end of the month, the UN said Friday. More than 86,000 South... Full story

Wildfires blaze across Australia

Dozens of wildfires were burning out of control in heat wave conditions across southern Australia on Friday, killing at least one resident. Fire authorities said 68 fires were burning across... Full story

Mass grave fuels fear of thousands buried in Lanka war zone

The discovery of a mass grave containing more than 30 skulls in northern Sri Lanka has fuelled speculation that there may be many more like it containing the remains of thousands who went missing during the island nation’s nearly three-decade war. Full story

UN warns against delayed action on global warming

Delaying action on global warming will only increase the costs and reduce the options for dealing with the worst effects of climate change, according to a draft report by UN experts. The final draft of the report by the... Full story

Thousands flee storm, persistent floods in Philippines

Thousands of people fled rising floods and an approaching storm in a fresh round of evacuations in the Philippines, officials said on Friday as the death toll from a week of foul weather rose to 37. Nearly 13,000 people left... Full story

NEWSLINE

Egypt Islamists protest ahead of vote results Protesters loyal to ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi clashed with the police Friday as Egypt awaited official results of a constitutional referendum the army-backed government billed... Full story
  • Online Poll


    Do you think that the government has successfully brought back normalcy in public life after the January 5 elections?

    • Yes
    • No
    • No comment
    Ajax Loader