– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
Five grenades were fired from M-79 launchers at BTS Saladaeng Station and nearby areas last night from unknown launch sites in Bangkok, killing a Thai woman and injuring 75 others including three foreigners, officials said.
Ten are in serious condition.
Some sources, including Deputy Premier Suthep Thaugsuban, have reported three deaths from yesterday’s attacks.
Whether the attacks in the heart of Bangkok will deter the anti-red movement remains to be seen.
The so-called ‘multi-coloured’ demonstrators are planning their biggest rally at the Royal Plaza today.
The attack dealt another major blow to the Abhisit government less than two weeks after the April 10 bloodshed.
All five grenades yesterday apparently targeted Silom residents and vendors who had gathered under the BTS station to confront the red-shirt protesters camping across the street behind fences made of bamboo.
Political crisis reaching climax
Thailand’s army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd warned protesters at the Ratchaprasong area yesterday that, “Your time is running out…. We are waiting for an appropriate time to take back the area.” He added that anyone found inside the encampment will be subject to legal action.
Furthermore, PM Abhisit backers clashed with his opponents early yesterday morning, with both sides hurling bottles, marbles, rocks and small bits of metal.
This pro-government group is planning to gather at a separate location in Bangkok today and is pushing for 100,000 supporters to join them at a rally.
“Those [red shirt] protesters don’t want democracy…. We can’t compromise on this. It may be a civil war,”” said Suwit Aroonwejkul, 43, an Abhisit supporter.
Political dissent spreading
Yesterday was the second day Khon Kaen red shirts continued their hijack of a train transporting 70 soldiers, along with military vehicles and supplies, to Pattani.
On Wednesday, the local red shirts blocked the train from leaving Khon Kaen on suspicion that the soldiers and military supplies might be diverted to crack down on fellow protesters in Bangkok instead of fighting the insurgency in the Deep South.
Three rounds of talks yielded no progress and the number of red shirts surged Wednesday night, but Reuters reports that the red shirts agreed yesterday to let the military train proceed if it took along 10 of them to make sure the train would go to its intended destination in southern Thailand.
Southern insurgency flares up
New Straits Times
Suspected Islamic militants have shot and killed three Muslim civilians in Thailand’s restive south, a day after deadly twin blasts hit the region, police said yesterday.
Two men in Narathiwat province have been shot dead: a 21-year-old in his karaoke lounge early yesterday, and a 20-year-old in his home on Wednesday.
Shortly afterwards, a 56-year-old deputy village headman was shot dead in nearby Pattani province as he left his house for guard duty at a school.
Additionally, on Wednesday, some unidentified gunmen threw an M-67 grenade at a police station in Pattani province, leaving at least two dead and 42 others injured.
More than 4,100 people have been killed in six years of unrest in the Muslim-majority southern provinces which border Malaysia.
— Gazette Editors
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