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Death toll from Bangkok clashes rises to 36, hotel hit by grenades

Sunday, May 16, 2010 11:23 PM

BANGKOK, May 16, 2010 (Kyodo News International) -- The death toll from four days of clashes between troops and antigovernment protesters in Bangkok rose to 36 on Monday following overnight violence in which an air force officer was shot dead and a luxury hotel was hit by grenades.

In addition to the 36 fatalities -- nine of which occurred Sunday and two early Monday -- more than 250 people have been injured in the latest round of violence since Thursday, according to Bangkok's emergency medical center.

Local dailies reported the grenades damaged the fifth and 17th floors of the Dusit Thani Hotel, located in the Thai capital's Silom financial district opposite Lumpini Park, shortly after midnight.

It was not immediately known if there were any casualties at the hotel. The hotel management was not available for any comment.

Nation TV reported that only journalists were staying in the hotel.

Post Today, a Thai language daily, reported that three grenades also landed near a high-rise office building located on Rama IV Road, less than 100 meters away from the Dusit Thani.

About an hour after the grenade attacks, an air force officer was shot dead and another was slightly injured as they drove a pickup truck into the off-limits zone on Silom Road, a stretch lined with commercial banks and tall buildings that also runs alongside one of Bangkok's main nightlife areas popular with foreigners.

The daily quoted a preliminary report as saying there was a gunfight between troops stationed on Silom Road and the two air force officers in the truck.

The government has declared Monday and Tuesday this week to be public holidays in Bangkok to facilitate restoration of peace and order in the capital, though banks and the financial market opened as usual.

It has also decided to postpone until May 24 the start of the new school semester in the capital.

In recent weeks, 59 people, including five soldiers and two policemen, have been killed and more than 1,100 others wounded, mostly in the April 10 clashes between security personnel and protesters, making the ongoing political violence the deadliest in 18 years.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )


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