The Thai government’s proposal for reconciliation with a two—month protest movement was still on track despite attacks on police that left two dead, an official spokesman said on Saturday.
Unknown assailants on Friday night and early Saturday morning attacked policemen posted near an area occupied by demonstrators, killing two officers and wounding nine other people.
“The national reconciliation road map will still move ahead as both the government and the red shirts want to bring back peace to the country,” spokesman Panitan Wattanayakorn said on Saturday after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva met security chiefs to assess the attacks.
Around 10:45 pm Friday (1545 GMT), men on a motorcycle fired on police and pro—government counter demonstrators, killing Sergeant Pannupat Lertkanpen with a bullet to the stomach, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Santan Chayanol said.
The attack also wounded three other policemen and two civilians.
A second attack occurred at 1:30 am on Saturday, as grenades were fired at policemen stationed across the road from a central Bangkok park occupied by the protestors.
Police Sergeant Wittaya Phomsalee died from a chest wound, and four other officers were wounded.
“It’s too early to say who was behind these attacks,” Lieutenant General Santan said.
“I believe it was a group of people who want to create chaos.” The fresh violence came after nearly two months of protests that had sparked clashes claiming 27 lives, including six soldiers, and wounded more than 900.
Negotiations are underway to end the demonstrations that have occupied the heart of Bangkok’s main commercial district, and cost the country millions of dollars in lost tourism revenues.
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as the red shirts, started its protest on March 12 to force the prime minister to resign and hold new elections.
In what was hailed as a major breakthrough, Abhisit on Monday announced plans to hold an election on November 14, which would require dissolving parliament between September 15 and 30.
He also laid out a five—point proposal to deal with some of the political issues that have deeply divided the country over the past four years.
The UDD has accepted the proposal in principle, but has not yet agreed to leave the protest site.
Although the protest began peacefully, it adopted more aggressive tactics in April after failing to topple Mr. Abhisit’s government.
An attempt to clear protestors from their previous demonstration site in the old part of Bangkok led to a bloody street battle that left 25 dead, including five soldiers, and more than 800 injured.
On April 22, grenade attacks in the financial district killed one woman and injured about 80 civilians. A showdown between troops and protestors near Don Mueang Airport on April 28 left one soldier dead and about 20 people wounded.
The UDD protest has been accompanied by an unprecedented number of attacks on government and army installations by assailants armed with military weapons.
The government has not identified the militants working in tandem with the UDD. An impartial investigation into the April 10 event is one of the five steps in the government proposal.
Keywords: Thai turmoil,