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Pattaya Daily News

15 May 2010 :: 14:05:05 pm 20427

Bangkok Protests Ignite 16 Dead & Over 160 Injured

Sixteen persons were killed and at least 160 were wounded in scores of clashes between troops and anti-government Red Shirt protesters in the government's security operation to seal off Bangkok’s prime commercial area to pressure the end of six weeks of protest there, according to the Erawan Emergency Centre.
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Bangkok, the 15th of May 2010 [TNA]: All 16 fatalities are Thai civilians, and nine of the injured remain in intensive care unit(ICU). Three foreigners were wounded, one each from Canada, Myanmar and Poland. The centre earlier reported three journalists were wounded while covering the clashes, one from Matichon newspaper, another from Thailand’s Voice TV, and the last and most critical a Canadian correspondent of France 24 television, Nelson Ran. He was hit by three bullets. One bullet pierced through his leg, another hit his abdomen, another hit his wrist. The first fatality was a 33-year-old man, identified as InplaengThetwong, who was shot in his chest during a clash at Bon Kai intersection, not far from Lumpini Boxing Stadium, followed by a second death in the same area.

Meanwhile, leaders of the anti-government Red Shirt protesters Friday afternoon urgently demanded the government to end all forms of violence and pull back all troops to their barracks, immediately cease fire and revoke the emergency decree to prevent further losses from both sides. Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua told a news conference after the meeting of the top leaders Friday afternoon that the mobilisation of troops and ammunition to centre of the city under the imposition of the emergency decree caused more emergency incidents without any sign of ending, as well as casualties. The Red Shirts also demanded Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban to resign immediately.

In addition, all agencies concerned in operations leading to violence in the past two months must enter the justice process the same as the Red Shirt leaders, Mr Nattawut said. He added that the demand was made after Thursday’s shooting of Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, a high profile Red Shirt leader who is now in a coma, and three deaths reported in the latest clashes. He described the situation on Friday as more violent than the April 10 clashes between security forces and protesters. “If Mr Abhisit does not order a stop to the violence, tonight can become a tragedy that will torment Thais’ hearts forever,” Mr Nattawut warned, claiming that there was report of some police exchanged gunfire with soldiers as the police cannot stand soldiers shooting at people.

The red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters pledged to carry on their rally in a peaceful manner but claimed to be unfazed by the government’s threat. Following day-long clashes between troops and Red Shirts, the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) announced in a nationally televised address Friday night that it will continue the security sweep to reduce the activities and the number of protesters at Ratchaprasong, as well search for weapons which may have been hidden in the area.

Minister to the Prime Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey, in a live broadcast, also urged the Red Shirts to end their protest to avoid possible losses. CRES emphasised troops are following the law and international standard practice in handling with the crowd but the protest leaders used armed supporters to attack security checkpoints and during the officials’ operation, Mr Sathit said.

Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn added troops are largely outside the Ratchaprasong rally site and at their checkpoints but they were attacked by armed protesters, so they had no choice, but to respond to the attacks. Mr Panitan reiterated security forces will use live ammunition only to protect their own lives and the general public, as well as to stop armed groups from attacking people. He said the government is committed to stabilise the situation soon, saying until now many areas are under control. Prime Minister Abhisit is looking forward to move on his reconciliation road map, with cooperation of all social and political parties, the spokesman said, adding that any new proposal for the road map to end the crisis is always welcomed and the situation will return normalcy in the next few days. [TNA]

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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