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Thai Troops Fire on Protesters, Killing One

Posted May. 15, 2010 12:17,   


The clash between the military and anti-government demonstrators in Thailand has escalated into bloodshed, plunging the country deeper into political uncertainty.

One demonstrator was shot to death Friday, while Bangkok declared a state of emergency in 15 provinces.

The Associated Press said Thai troops fired bullets and tear gas at “Red Shirt” protesters rioting near the U.S. and Japanese embassies, turning central Bangkok into a “virtual war zone.” The embassies were closed to the public, and the British, New Zealand and Dutch embassies were closed soon after.

Some 10,000 protesters held a standoff with military troops, putting barricades in central Bangkok where foreign embassies and business districts are clustered.

The protest grew more violent after Major Gen. Khattiya Sawasdipol, a renegade who is considered a leader of the protesters, was shot in the head Thursday. One protester was killed after being shot in the head by soldiers and 20 more were injured, bringing the death toll to 30 since March 14.

Khattiya remained unconscious. Protesters said the Thai military used illegal force to shoot him under Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva`s order, but Bangkok denied the military’s involvement in the shooting.

Abhisit also declared a state of emergency in 15 provinces in northern and northeastern Thailand. A state of emergency was also declared in 17 provinces including Bangkok and surrounding areas where the Thai prime minister declared a state of emergency April 7.