3 killed, 57 people injured in Bangkok clashes: Three people have reportedly been killed and at least 57 injured in clashes between police and anti-government protesters Tuesday
- That included gunshots and explosions in the old quarter section of the city, according to reports.
The authorities were attempting to clear demonstrators from the Phan Fah Bridge rally site controlled by the Dhamma Army protest group when gunshots and explosions rang out shortly before noon.
“One policeman has died and 14 police were injured,” said national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew. “The policeman … died while being sent to hospital. He was shot in the head.”
Another of the fatalities was a 52-year-old male civilian, according to a ctpost.com report. Details are sketchy and it is unclear who the third fatality was.
Three witnesses from Reuters reported hearing gunfire and one saw police firing weapons in the area.
The injured included a foreign journalist, said a Bangkok Post report.
Samdin Lertbut, one of the Dharma Army leaders, said the gunshot and explosions did not come from the protesters’ rally site. He said he did not know where it came from, but confirmed that people were found injured from both sides following the noises.
On Tuesday morning the police had launched their most determined effort yet to retake protest sites around government buildings in the centre and north of the capital, where protests have been ongoing since early November.
Security officials called the operation “Peace for Bangkok Mission”, which involved 15,000 officers.
At Government House, television pictures showed clouds of teargas as police crouched behind riot shields and clashed with protesters. It was unclear who had fired the teargas.
“I can guarantee that teargas was not used by security forces. The forces did not take teargas with them,” said National Security Council Chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr to Reuters. “Protesters are the ones who threw teargas at the security forces.”
Police with shields and batons were seen pushing and shoving with protesters on live television near Government House.
Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee, was seen earlier on the protest movement’s Bluesky TV addressing police lines near Government House.
“We are not fighting to get power for ourselves,” he said. “The reforms we will set in motion will benefit your children and grandchildren, too. The only enemy of the people is the Thaksin regime.”
Bangkok clashes, today’s fatalities, if confirmed, would bring to 14 the number of people killed in periodic clashes between security forces, protesters, and government supporters since the demonstrations began in early November. Hundreds more have been injured in Thailand’s worst period of political violence since 2010.
Police have still made no attempt to seize the largest protest sites in the heart of Bangkok’s business and shopping districts. Bangkok clashes Image / AP