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Terrorism & Security

Bangkok grenade attack wounds scores in Thai protests

Rocket-propelled grenades injured more than 80 government supporters at Thai protests Thursday evening. The antigovernment Red Shirts denied responsibility for the attack, though the M-79 grenades were reportedly fired from near their camp.

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It took hours of negotiations to prevent a bloody row, according to The Bangkok Post. By the afternoon, a tense truce of sorts had been reached: Red Shirt demonstrators and the police each agreed to pull back 300 feet from the dividing barricade.

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But by evening, the night lit up with the pop of explosions. The first of three blasts struck an elevated train station, causing pedestrians to run for cover. Two more blasts seemed to target hundreds of demonstrators who had turned out to support the government.

The M-79 grenades appear to have been fired from camps near where the Red Shirts had erected a series of barricades along the financial district’s main thoroughfare, reports The Associated Press.

Thursday's incident brings to 26 the total number of deaths in protests since the Red Shirts began their campaign about two months ago, when Thailand deployed thousands of security forces ahead of a court verdict on $2.2 billion in frozen assets belonging to an exiled but still-popular former Prime Minister Thaksin. And some worry that violence is spreading, pointing to the appearance of new protesters opposed to the Red Shirts, as The Guardian reports. After the explosions Thursday night, these pro-government factions hurled bottles and rocks at the Red Shirts, forcing government forces to intervene between the two.

As the Monitor recently reported, some of the pro-government forces are known as the Yellow Shirts, and have vowed to counteract Red Shirt demonstrations. The government, meanwhile, is getting impatient, the Guardian adds.

Spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told protesters: "We don't want you to risk your lives. If there is a clash you could be hurt by stray bullets. Your time is running out. Please leave the area."

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