BANGKOK PROTESTS: THREE PEOPLE SHOT WITH LIVE AMMUNITION – Public Health Minister Pradith Sinthawanarong announced that the number of people injured in the increasingly violent protests has risen by another 94, bringing the total to 221.
There remains conflicting reports as to the number of people who have died; some put the figure at three whilst others state the figure is now eight.
Late last night, reports surfaced that ‘live’ bullets were being used during clashes and two people were admitted to hospital requiring surgery from bullet wounds; it is not been made clear as to who used live bullets, the police, army or indeed the opposing demonstrators of the Red and Yellow shirts.
One protester, 43 year old Araya Klabwila told medical staff that he was hit by tear gas and an unidentified object in his right shoulder; this may have been a rubber bullet that the army have been authorized to use in order to protect Government buildings.
More clashes erupted last night as a group of anti-government protesters, mostly university students from Ramkhamhaeng University marched in the vicinity of Rajamangala Stadium where thousands of pro-government Red shirts were holding their rally.
On being noticed by the Red shirts, violence erupted resulting in protesters beating each other and vandalising anything in their path; the street battles continued until the early hours of the morning.
People on the streets reported hearing explosions and gunfire in the area during the clashes; the suspected use of explosive devices and guns forced the Red shirt leaders to re-group and call off their rally until the morning in order to avoid further violence.
According to rescue at Erawan Centre three people have been killed and named as Mr. Taweesak Bhodikaew, 21; Mr. Wisanu Paopu, 26; and Mr. Viroj Khemnark, 43.
However the chairwoman of the Red shirts claims the number of deaths is higher with pro-government supporters being killed and named as Private Thanasith Viengkam, 23. According to Ms. Thida, his funeral is now being held at Yang Temple, Soi Onnuj 23.
Presently there doesn’t appear any sign that the protests or violence is abating with Yellow shirts demanding the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra step down.
It remains clear that these protests were inevitably going to erupt into violence as the opposing groups clashed and many fear the on-going violence could well claim more lives than in the Bangkok riots of 2010.
Both Red and Yellow shirts have blamed the security force for not helping their cause in order to make the demonstrations peaceful.
The Government remains adamant that the Prime Minister will not be stepping down and that security forces will continue to protect key Government buildings from being taken over by the protesters.
There currently appears no end in sight to the protests and the inevitable violence that ensues.