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Tense Standoff Between Thai Police, Red Shirts After Bloody Bombings

  • VOA News

Thai riot police faced off against anti-government protesters in Bangkok's high-rent commercial district Friday, hours after deadly grenade attacks in the area.

The two sides shouted at each other for several moments at the edge of Silom Road, the heart of Bangkok's main retail and tourist center. The Red Shirts have occupied the district for several days, shutting down businesses and luxury hotels.



A coalition of office employees, middle class families and low-wage workers who describe themselves as "multicolored" are planning to hold a massive rally in Bangkok to demand the Red Shirts end their occupation.

The "multicolored" coalition also includes members of the Yellow Shirts, a group that supports Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Thai royal family.

The United Nations and the United States on Thursday urged the government and protesters to work out their issues peacefully.

Five suspects have been arrested in connection with Thursday's grenade blasts near a subway station, a luxury hotel and a bank in the Silom Road district. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban announced that three people were killed in the attacks.

But Thai emergency officials say only one person was killed, with 85 others wounded.

Mr. Suthep said the explosives were fired from an area occupied by the protesters. But the Red Shirts denied responsibility for the blasts.

The Red Shirts support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in 2006. Mr. Thaksin lives in exile and faces a prison sentence on corruption charges in Thailand. He has a significant following among the country's rural and low-income population.

Mr. Abhisit came to power in December 2008, after months of massive anti-Thaksin protests by the Yellow Shirts.

An April 10 clash between the Red Shirts and Thai security forces left at least 25 people dead and 850 others injured.

An army spokesman urged the anti-government protesters Thursday to disband their encampment, warning them that "time is running out."


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