Defiant Thai protesters on Saturday marched through the capital vowing to continue their campaign to oust beleaguered premier Yingluck Shinawatra, blaming the government for a blast at a rally that killed one person and wounded dozens.
Tensions escalated yesterday following the grenade attack at the rally led by opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban as protesters stepped up their months—long agitation, blocking major roads in Bangkok and occupying ministries.
Suthep, chief of the Peoples Democratic Reforms Committee (PDRC), alleged the blast “was the work of the government” and called on protesters to draw strength from it. “What it (the government) has done to the Thai people is cold—blooded,” he said.
'Not stupid but a demon'
The incident showed that Yingluck was not stupid but a “demon”, Suthep was quoted as saying by Bangkok Post.
The opposition Democrat Party leader, who escaped unhurt, said he was not deterred by the attack. Instead he would intensify his march and oust the government.
“We have to continue this fight. We have invested a lot in it. Our fellow protesters were injured and killed. This is the 27th assault on us and there have been a lot of injuries.”
The grenade went off as marchers were passing a street near an intersection, injuring 38 demonstrators. The Erawan emergency centre said a 46—year—old man died early today. He became the ninth person killed during the protests.
Yingluck denied the accusation that her government was behind the attack. “I do not support any kind of violence and will take action against those who do.”
The incident, which came just two weeks before the February 2 snap polls, fuelled speculation that the army might step in to end the soaring political crisis that has wracked the country for two months now.
Armed forces supreme commander Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn denied reports that he is planning a military coup to become the next prime minister, Than Setthakij website reported.
Thanasak said the “groundless” report was just a rumour circulated by people who wanted to incite unrest.
Protesters, who are seeking to rid Thailand of the political dominance of the Shinawatra clan, have vowed to force Yingluck from office and install an unelected “People’s Council” to carry out reforms before any polls.