Blast kills 2 in Thailand
An explosion in a busy Bangkok shopping district killed two people and injured 22 yesterday, hours after supporters of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra promised to get tough with demonstrators paralysing parts of the city.
The afternoon blast occurred during an anti-government rally in an area popular with tourists for its street stalls, hotels and proximity to one of the biggest shopping malls in Thailand's capital.
Police could not immediately confirm the cause. Blood was splattered on the pavement as soldiers and police sealed off the area, an AFP photographer saw.
On Saturday a five-year-old girl died and 30 were injured -- including another girl -- when gunmen sprayed bullets at a anti-government rally in the Khao Saming district of Trat province, 300 kilometres east of the capital.
Thailand has seen months of anti-government rallies aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's embattled administration.
Thailand has been bitterly split since a military coup ousted Yingluck's brother Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister in 2006.
The current unrest is the worst since Thaksin-allied Red Shirt protests against a Democrat-led government in 2010 sparked clashes and a bloody military crackdown that left more than 90 people dead.
In recent months 19 people have died and hundreds more have been injured, fuelling fears of a spiral of unrest.
Red Shirt leaders met yesterday in Nakhon Ratchasima, the gateway to the Shinawatra-supporting northeast, to discuss ways to bolster Yingluck's crisis-hit administration.
Prominent leader Nattawut Saikuar warned the group was now in a "real fight" but refused to elaborate on its plans.
"We will carry on fighting to the end," he said, amid fears any street action by the group could lead to clashes.
Some analysts say the seemingly intractable crisis could lead to protracted violence or a form of wider civil conflict.