1 killed, dozens wounded in attack on anti-govt Thai rally

1 killed, dozens wounded in attack on anti-govt Thai rally

Unidentified gunmen in pickup trucks lobbed grenades and opened fire at an anti-government rally in eastern Thailand, killing a five-year-old girl and wounding 34 people, as violence spread outside the capital.

The attack occurred last night in Trat province, about 300 km east of Bangkok, where protesters were holding the rally demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Suvichan Suwannakana, a spokesman of the opposition People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), said about 2,000 demonstrators were present at the rally during the attack.

The men in the first truck threw grenades at a noodle shop nearby where 20 people including PDRC guards were sitting. Those on the other truck fired indiscriminately at the noodle shop and then turned their guns to the stage, killing the girl and wounding 34 people, local media reported.

Anurak Amornphetsathaporn, director of the Emergency Public Health Office of the Public Health Ministry, said 29 of the injured were in hospitals. Five of them were critical.

The five-year-old girl died after being hit by a grenade fragment on her head. A seven-year-old boy was in a serious condition after he too was hit by a grenade fragment on head.

Some people have criticised parents for taking children to a political rally.

The attacks are the latest in political violence in Thailand which is witnessing anti-government protests by opposition backed demonstrators who want Shinawatra to quit.Seventeen people have been killed and hundreds injured so far in the political strife in the last three months.

The protesters accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a coup in 2006. He lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to escape a jail term on a corruption conviction.

The recent violence is the worst political bloodshed in Thailand since 2010 when protests by pro-Thaksin "Red Shirts" left more than 90 dead and nearly 1,900 injured in clashes and a military crackdown.

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