One dead in gun attack on Thai protesters

One dead in gun attack on Thai protesters
Anti-government protesters carry a comrade who was shot as their bus came under fire in Bangkok.

BANGKOK - A Thai anti-government protester was shot dead and several others wounded Tuesday when their vehicle came under attack, officials said, reigniting tensions in Bangkok after weeks of relative calm.

The victims, supporters of a militant faction of the opposition movement, were returning from a rally at a government complex in the north of the capital when they came under fire from unknown assailants.

A 52-year-old man was killed and four others were wounded, according to the city's Erawan emergency centre.

"According to our initial intelligence information, it definitely involved politics," said Paradorn Pattanatabut, a security adviser to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

"It is hard to control the situation," he said, adding that hardliners were mixed up in the deadly political crisis.

Thailand has been shaken by a series of grenade attacks and shootings, often targeting protesters, that have left 24 people dead and hundreds wounded in recent months.

The violence had eased since the rallies were scaled back at the start of March when demonstrators abandoned their occupation of major intersections in Bangkok and converged in a park in the city.

The splinter group that was attacked, the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand, has often been at the vanguard of attempts to storm state buildings during five months of rallies seeking to oust Yingluck.

The protesters want Yingluck to step down to make way for an unelected interim government to oversee reforms aimed at curbing the political dominance of her billionaire family.

Thailand has seen years of political conflict and rival street protests by opponents and supporters of her brother, fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a coup in 2006 and lives overseas to avoid jail for a corruption conviction.

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