28 Wounded as Blasts Hit Anti-Government Protest in Thailand
epa04030183 A defiant Thai anti-government protester waves a giant Thai flag at Victory Monument after an explosion injured dozens at the site in Bangkok, Thailand, 19 January 2014. Explosions at the anti-government protest site injured at least 28 people, adding to a growing list of victims of the country's political standoff, reports said. The blasts, initially blamed on grenades, occurred at the Victory Monument, one of seven sites that have been occupied by the Bangkok shutdown campaign. Thousands of anti-government protesters have occupied seven major city intersections since 13 January 2014 as part of a Bangkok shutdown campaign aimed at forcing caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her government to resign. EPA/BARBARA WALTONBARBARA WALTON / EPA
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BANGKOK -- Two explosions shook an anti-government demonstration site in Thailand's capital on Sunday, wounding at least 28 people in the latest violence to hit Bangkok as the nation's increasingly bloody political crisis drags on.
Police said the blasts near Victory Monument, in the north of the city, were caused by fragmentation grenades — the same kind that killed one man and wounded dozens Friday in a similar explosion targeting protest marchers.
The demonstrators, who control several small patches of Bangkok, are vying to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government and derail Feb. 2 elections she called in a bid to quell the crisis.
Although Bangkok, a vast metropolis that is home to 12 million people, remains calm, political violence has occurred almost daily over the last week. There have been shooting attacks at protest venues and small explosives hurled at the homes of top protest supporters.
It is unclear who is behind the unrest. But prolonged bloodshed, even on a small scale, fuels a sense of insecurity and increases the chance that the military will stage a coup. Such a scenario would benefit protesters, who do not have the numbers to bring down the government on their own and have called on the army to support them.
Thailand's army has staged about a dozen successful coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
Yingluck's administration and the northern-based political movement that supports her, the Red Shirts, have previously denied responsibility for organizing the violence.
Anxious about triggering military intervention, Yingluck has ordered police to avoid confrontations with protesters. The strategy is aimed at averting violence, but it also has undermined rule of law and the government's authority, with police essentially ceding scattered pockets of Bangkok to demonstrators.