BANGKOK, May 15 – Three people died following an early morning attack Thursday on an anti-government protest site here, raising concern over possible escalation and worrying the army which condemned the attack and warned that it might intervene to end the violence. In the attack with a M79 grenade at about 2.45am at the Democracy Monument, 23 people were injured but later three men died in the hospitals. Up to this evening, 10 of those injured were still hospitalised.
Since Nov 30 last year, 25 people have died and 783 injured in the political conflict in Bangkok, while three died and 43 were injured in other provinces, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Erawan Emergency Medical Services Centre. The violence is expected to continue as there is yet to be any formula acceptable to all to resolve the crisis which has hit a stalemate now. Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha condemned the fresh violence and warned that the army could be forced to end the violence in full force to maintain law and order.
“In the event the situation escalates and becomes chaotic, the army has to mobilise its forces to end it,” he said in a statement. He wants all sides to resolve the problem without imposing conditions and obstacles. The political problem, however, remains difficult to resolve. Acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan was supposed to meet the Election Commission to discuss the July 20 general election this morning, but the meeting was aborted after the anti-government protesters made their way to the meeting room at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy.
Sathit Wongnongtoey, one of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s core leaders, said: “We come here (air force academy) today because we want to meet Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisarn, the acting caretaker prime minister. We do respect the military.” Due to the continuing problem, it is uncertain whether the Election Commission will go ahead with its plan to hold the general election in July.