UK & World News

  • 23 February 2014, 16:05

Children Among Victims In Deadly Thai Violence

A five-year-old girl and boy aged 12 are the latest victims of attacks targeting anti-government protesters in Thailand, as violent unrest spreads outside the capital.

A 12-year-old boy was one of two people killed in a suspected grenade attack at an anti-government protest site in Bangkok on Sunday.

Emergency services said a 40-year-old woman was also killed and 22 people wounded when assailants targeted the capital's upmarketRatchaprasong shopping area.

Two children were among the injured.

Sunday's attack comes a day after a five-year-old girl was gunned down during an anti-government protest in the eastern province of Trat.

Gunmen in a pick-up truck attacked a rally where some 500 protesters had gathered, killing the girl and wounding dozens of other people.

National Security Council chief Lieutenant General Paradom Pattanathuabutr said the girl had been the only fatality, however the Thai media claimed three people had been killed and others critically injured.

The attack happened in theKhao Saming district ofTrat province, around 180 miles east of Bangkok, where protesters had gathered near food stalls to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The gunmen shot into the crowd and threw two explosives in the attack.

The assailants responsible for both weekend attacks from not been identified.

At least 18 people have been killed and hundreds hurt from both sides of the protest movement, which is now in its third month.

MsYingluck continues to refuse to step aside and allow an interim government to bring in anti-corruption reforms.

Last month shedeclared a state of emergencyafter violence in Bangkokspiralled out of control.

Until Saturday's attack, violence had mostly been confined to the capital.

Lt Gen Paradom said: "At this point we do not know who was behind the (Trat) attack, but there are several factors to take into account in the investigation."

He said the protesters in Trat had been rallying for a long time "so they might have caused disturbance to others". He also said the area was controlled by groups that are affiliated with the anti-government side.

A spokesman for the opposition Democrat Party, which is closely allied with the protest group and boycotted the election, condemned the Trat attack.

Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said: "This is something we have expected because the government has no way to go, so they have to resort to violence.

"I can't say precisely that the government is behind the attack, but whoever did it was on the government's side."

Thailand has been riven by political conflict since 2006, when then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck'sbillionaire brother, was ousted by a military coup. He is still wanted in Thailand on various criminal charges.

In 2010, Thaksin supporters called Red Shirts occupied part of Bangkok for two months - more than 90 people were killed in violent confrontations after the army was called in.

Ms Yingluck was elected in 2011, but is facing moves from the courts to undermine her power and corruption charges were filed against her several days ago.

She attempted to confirm her mandate to govern by calling elections earlier this month but the voting has been disrupted and has yet to be completed.

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