One dead in shooting at Thai protest site

Thai anti-government protesters stand next to their tents at Lumpini park in downtown in Bangkok on March 21, 2014.

BANGKOK - One person was shot dead on Tuesday at the site of an anti-government rally in the Thai capital Bangkok, emergency services said, in the latest in a string of violent attacks.

The 40-year-old man was killed by an unknown attacker in the early hours of the morning near the rally stage in Lumpini Park, according to the city's Erawan emergency centre.

He was working as a security guard for the anti-government movement, according to rally spokesman Akanat Promphan.

"We don't know who was responsible," he added.

Police said they had no information about the incident and had not visited the scene of the shooting.

Access to the protest site is usually restricted by the rally guards, who have fraught relations with the police.

The area near where the attack happened has been thronged with revellers celebrating the traditional Thai New Year water festival this week.

Opposition demonstrators have staged more than five months of mass street protests seeking to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office.

Grenade attacks and shootings linked to the unrest have left 25 people dead and hundreds wounded in recent months, including many protesters.

The violence has eased somewhat since the rallies were scaled back at the start of March, when demonstrators abandoned their occupation of major intersections in Bangkok and converged on Lumpini Park.

The protesters want Yingluck to step down and 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, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. He was ousted from office by a coup in 2006 and lives overseas to avoid jail for a corruption conviction.

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