By Frank James
Five explosions caused by grenades fired from a launcher killed at least five and wounded nearly 100 people in Bangkok's business district, according to reports.
Here's what Reuters is reporting:
BANGKOK, April 22 (Reuters) - A series of grenade blasts shook Bangkok's business district on Thursday, killing at least three people and wounding 75, heightening tensions during ashowdown between troops and anti-government protesters.
Five explosions hit an area packed with heavily armed soldiers and studded with banks, office towers and hotels. Four were seriously wounded, including two foreigners, according to hospital officials.
The M-79 grenades, fired with a shoulder-mounted launcher into an area where hundreds of pro-government protesters were gathering, were the same type that hit troops during a bloody clash with protesters that killed 25 people on April 10.
Troops, many armed with M-16 assault rifles, have poured into the area since Monday to contain the anti-government "red shirts", who have formed a barricade at an intersection leading into the bustling district also known for racy go-go bars.
The government said the grenades were fired from the red shirt protest area. Leaders of the red shirts, who have been demonstrating in Bangkok for nearly seven weeks seeking new elections, denied they were responsible.
Television footage showed blood splattered across sidewalks, office windows smashed and a chaotic scene as panicked residents carried the injured into nearly a dozen ambulances.
According to a report in on a Thai web site, the attacks by M79 grenade launcher occurred when one group of protesters called the pro-government multicolored-shirts confronted the anti-government red-shirt protesters. The red shirts have been demonstrating against the government of Prime Minister Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
An excerpt from the web site of The Nation, a Thai news outlet:
Tension rose early in the evening as the multicoloured protesters chanted taunts and yelled at the red shirts to "get out" of their Rajprasong rally site. Unlike Wednesday night when they countered the taunts and traded projectiles with the multicoloured protesters, the red shirts were restrained yesterday, staying behind their barricades.
In a television interview, Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, of the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations, confirmed that all five grenades were fired from M79 launchers.
The spokesman said later in an interview with Thai PBS that the first three rounds landed on the BTS Skytrain station, the fourth on the skywalk under the station, and the fifth in front of the Bank of Ayudhya branch.
He said dispersal of the red shirts during night time was not possible.
Sansern said the grenades were not fired from high positions but possibly from Lumpini Park or from a redshirt stage close to the Saladaeng intersection.
categories: Foreign News