Thailand’s Government Rule Severely Degrades Again
Bangkok clashes rage on; death toll hits 17
by My-Thuan Tran and Mark Magnier
BANGKOK, Thailand– Fighting in Bangkok continued for a third day Saturday with the death toll mounting to 17 as Thai troops fired live rounds in a bid to contain and isolate anti-government protesters encamped in a glitzy shopping district.
With 150 wounded in recent days, the army issued a warning Saturday that the riot-hit neighborhood was now a “live firing zone,” as soldiers took cover behind sandbags and on rooftops.
Demonstrators faced them down behind barriers, wielding petrol bombs, stones, guns and homemade rockets, and vowed to maintain a siege that has already lasted two months.
Dawn broke Saturday morning after a long night of grenade explosions and sporadic gunfire. The army has been trying to set up a perimeter around the mile-square barricaded area that several thousand protesters have refused to leave.
The protesters, known as ” Red Shirts,” have demanded that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resign, call immediate elections and leave the country. Most are from poor, farmer and working class communities and believe the government is illegitimate. – More here.
Fighting spreads in Thai capital
by Jason Szep and Ambika Ahuja
5/15/2010/7:34 A.M. EDT
BANGKOK—Thai troops fired at protesters on Saturday in a third day of fighting that has killed 17 people on Bangkok’s streets as soldiers struggle to isolate a sprawling encampment of demonstrators seeking to topple the government.
A volunteer medical rescue worker was shot and feared dead on Rama IV, and at least four protesters were also shot and badly wounded, including one in the head, said witnesses.
Witnesses described the fighting as one-sided, as troops armed with automatic rifles easily dodged projectiles and opened fire. Soldiers can shoot if protesters come within 36 meters (120 ft), said army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
The army was calling in reinforcements, he added. – More here.