Thai Political Protests Turn Violent, One Dead

Mass opposition protests aimed at overthrowing Thailand's embattled prime minister turned violent on Saturday with one person shot dead and several wounded.

Gunshots were fired on Saturday among an anti-government crowd in Thailand that has set Sunday as the deadline for ousting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Two people were badly beaten by protesters in Bangkok and several people were wounded when gunshots were fired. According to the national police commissioner-general, it is unclear who fired the shots. Police have called for military backup to protect parliament and Yingluck’s office. Controversy over Yingluck’s election centers over the lingering political influence of her billionaire brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Reuters:

"Fighting intensified after anti-government protesters attacked a bus they believed was full of government "red shirt" supporters. They also smashed the windshield of a taxi carrying people wearing red shirts, a pro-government symbol, and beat two people, one unconscious, police and Reuters witnesses said.

As darkness fell, gunfire erupted outside a sports stadium in Bangkok's Ramkamhaeng area where about 70,000 red-shirted supporters of Yingluck and her brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had gathered for a rally.

A gunman fired into Ramkamhaeng University, where hundreds of anti-government protesters had retreated after trying to block people from entering the stadium, witnesses said."

At least five people suffered gunshot wounds, five others were injured by knives or rocks, and one had been shot dead, according to officials.

"We need to break the law a little bit to achieve our goals," said Suthep, a deputy prime minister in the previous government, routed by Yingluck in a 2011 election.

The protests are the largest since red-shirted Thaksin supporters paralyzed Bangkok in April-May 2010 in a period of unrest that ended with a military crackdown which left 91 people dead, mostly Thaksin supporters.

About Diane Sweet

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Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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