Bangkok protests have seen their first fatality, as two rival street movements continue to mass in their opposing bids to topple or save the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
In the first violent confrontation reported in Bangkok this week, anti-government protesters attacked a bus carrying pro-government Red Shirt supporters to a mass rally at Rajamangala Stadium, in eastern Bangkok, where an estimated 60,000 had massed on Saturday night.
One anti-government protester, a student from Ramakhamhaeng University, was shot dead under still unclear circumstances in a scuffle resulting from the bus attack, Manager online news reported on Sunday.
Tyres on the bus were slashed and some other passengers roughed up, according to radio reports.
Anti-government protests have been on the rise in Bangkok since November 24, when more than 100,000 demonstrators gathered at Democracy Monument in western Bangkok and launched a campaign to seize government offices in a bid to paralyse Yingluck’s administration.
The protesters have taken command of the Budget Bureau and the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road, a hub for government agencies and ministries.
On Saturday, protesters partly occupied the compounds of the Telephone Organization of Thailand and Communications Authority of Thailand, which handle domestic and international telecommunication services, respectively.
They did not immediately enter the buildings. Most left the premises shortly to return to their headquarters at Government Complex.
On Sunday, anti-government protesters plan to occupy or surround 10 government installations, including the offices of the Cabinet and ministries of interior, foreign affairs, commerce, education, finance and labour, said Ekkanat Phompan, spokesman of the Civil Movement for Democracy.