Nighttime attack on Thai antigovernment protesters wounds at least 20

The government denied attacking demonstrators, who have called for the ouster of the prime minister.

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One person has been killed and 23 others wounded in a grenade attack Thursday against antigovernment protesters occupying the Thai prime minister's offices in Bangkok. The attack marks an escalation in violence after a six-day lull and may herald an aggressive push to dislodge members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who seized Government House in August.

This is the first fatal attack inside the government compound where hundreds of PAD protesters are camped out in a fortified tent city, reports CNN.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the attack occurred just hours after the cremation ceremonies of Princess Galyani – the late sister of King Bhumibol Adulyadej – ended. There had been a respite in violence during the princess' six-day funeral.

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The fatal blast did not cause PAD protesters to disperse, reports Reuters. Instead, more people flocked to Government House to show their support for PAD.

After the explosion, PAD leadership accused the government of launching the grenade attack and called for renewed mass protests, reports the Bangkok Post, an English-language Thai daily.

The Thai government has rejected PAD's accusation and denied responsibility for the attack, reports AFP. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat immediately denied any involvement and vowed a swift police investigation into the incident.

According to the BBC, however, the grenade attack may indicate a new push to remove PAD protesters from Government House.

The months-long standoff between PAD protesters and the Thai government first turned violent on Oct. 7, when police fired tear gas at demonstrators blocking parliament, sparking clashes that left two dead and hundreds injured, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

PAD's staying power has been evident in its ability to force the resignation of a prime minister and two cabinet ministers in recent months, reports the BBC. The antigovernment alliance accuses the current administration – headed by the People Power Party – of being a proxy government for former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The current prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, is Thaksin's brother-in-law.

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