One dead and 75 hurt in grenade blitz
AT least five grenades exploded yesterday in the centre of Bangkok near the scene of political protests in Thailand.
One person was killed and at least 75 wounded, sending panicked people running through the streets and fleeing an elevated train station.
The area of the explosions has been the site of a tense standoff between Red Shirt protesters, who are demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resign, and armed troops over the past several days. More recently, a rival group of protesters has rallied in the area, occasionally hurling stones and insults at the Red Shirts, creating a volatile mix.
Several of the blasts were near where the rivals have gathered, under the elevated tracks of a Skytrain station.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said in a speech broadcast last night on all Thai channels that five M79 grenades were fired from launchers within the Red Shirts' encampment.
Three fell through the roof of the station, which runs above Silom Road, the centre of Bangkok's business district and also home to several strips of go-go bars. A fourth exploded on the pavement near the five-star Dusit Thani Hotel and the fifth near a bank, he said.
TV stations reported several more blasts. Previously, explosions at the site have been from fireworks.
The government's Erawan emergency centre said the blasts killed one person, identified as a Thai woman, and wounded at least 75.
The TPBS television network reported that three foreigners were among the wounded.