BANGKOK Feb 26 Shots fired by unknown gunmen on
Wednesday rattled parts of the Thai capital where
anti-government protesters have set up camp for weeks, with
small but occasionally deadly bombs and gunfire fast becoming
the new norm in the city.
No one was wounded in the shootings in the central
commercial area of Bangkok, although five people were killed in
weekend violence in the city and the eastern province of Trat,
four of them young children.
National security chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said there
had been no reported deaths or injuries in the incidents in the
early hours of Wednesday.
"As for the perpetrators, we still don't know who they are,"
he told Reuters. "Recently we have been seeing more incidents
like this happening more frequently ... It is noticeable that
there are incidents like this every day."
The protesters, whose disruption of a general election this
month left polarised Thailand in political paralysis, aim to
topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and erase the
influence of her brother, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra,
seen by many as the real power in the country.
The protesters want to set up an unelected "people's
council" of the good and worthy to oversee vaguely defined
political reforms before new elections are held.
Occasional contact between the two sides, amid calls for
putting an end to the violence, have so far led to nothing.
Thailand announced a slump in trade figures on Tuesday with
the biggest drop in imports in more than four years in January,
the political crisis extending its economic toll beyond falling
Imports fell 15.5 percent in January from a year earlier,
the biggest tumble since October 2009. Imports of computers and
parts were down 19 percent from a year earlier, auto parts were
off 31.8 percent and consumer goods down 5.3 percent. Exports
dropped 2 percent.