31 Thai protesters injured in bomb attack, weapons found nearby: Following a Friday afternoon bomb attack on anti-government protesters in Bangkok, weapons were found stashed in a deserted building nearby suspected of being the hiding place for the attackers, say Thai media reports.
The bomb, believed to be either an improvised explosive or a giant firecracker, went off as Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest movement, was leading a procession of protesters on a march near Banthat Thong Road.
“The bomb went off about 30 metres (100 feet) from Suthep,” said protest spokesman Akanat Promphan to AFP. “Then his bodyguards escorted him back to a rally stage.”
Thailand’s Bluesky satellite TV caught the incident live, showing several protesters covered in blood, some of which were whisked away in a pick-up truck as an ambulance rushed to the scene to pick up the others who were injured. Bullet holes could be seen on the pickup truck.
Some protesters ran into a nearly deserted building, trying to find the assailant. PDRC guards said the bomb was hurled from the three-storey building.
Inside the building, PDRC guards and authorities found weapons, food and clothing stashed in a room.
Bluesky television showed pictures of loaded guns, a red cap with the inscription “Attacking unit”, food and other essentials indicating a long stay. Though the building appeared unoccupied, the electricity was not cut off.
“This government, Yingluck and Red Shirt thugs are creating violence, said Satit Wonghnongtaey, one of the protest leaders.
“Yingluck must take responsibility,” he said on stage shortly after the blast.
The government and the Red Shirts have denied the charge, claiming the protesters are trying to incite violence, according to reports.
“A movement has been set up to create a situation of bomb attacks against leaders’ houses and protesters,” said Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul to reporters.
Recent days and weeks have seen a series of drive-by shootings at rally sites and grenade attacks on the residences of opposition politicians.