04/17/2009, 00.00
THAILAND
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Bangkok, leader of the anti-Thaksin “yellow shirts” attacked. State of emergency prolonged.

An armed group attacked the car of Sondhi Limthongkul, causing injuries to the shoulder and head. He was operated on and his condition is stable. The attack comes only days after protests, quashed by the army, led by the “red shirts” demanding the resignation of premier Abhisit.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Sondhi Limthongkul's the leader of the “yellow-shirts”, which brought down former PM Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006, has been shot and injured. He was ambushed by gunmen who attacked his car in the Thai capital, Bangkok, spraying it with bullets and hitting Sondhi in the shoulder; another two people were injured in the attack.

 

In 2006 Sondhi led People's Alliance of Democracy (PAD) protests which ended with Thaksin’s resignation.  The “yellow shirts” began a new round of protests in the summer of 2008, against the previous pro Thaksin government.  The demonstrations which went on for months drew to an end in December 2008 with the installation of the current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the outlawing of the People’s Power Party (Ppp).

 

The PAD leader was operated on to remove a bullet from his forehead.  “He is out of danger now, he is speaking and will recover” affirms chief surgeon Chaiwan Chareonchoktawee, of Vajira hospital.  The doctor adds that Sondhi “will have to remain in hospital for a few days in order to make a full recovery. Then he may return home”.

 

Police sourced refer that at least one hundred bullets were found at the scene of the ambush.  Sondhi’s car is riddled with bullets.  The driver was also injured in the attack; his condition has been described as stable.

 

The ambush comes on the heels of recent protests by the “red shirts” loyal to exiled premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) twice ambushed the car of current Prime Minister Abhisit, shouting for his resignation.  Last weekend the “red shirts” disrupted the ASEAN leader’s summit.  The protests were forcibly quashed by the military; at the end of the clashes the death two was two dead and 123 injured. The state of emergency in Bangkok has been prolonged and further clashes are feared.

 

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