8 May 2010

Peace heralded in Thailand despite police deaths

10:37 pm on 8 May 2010

Thailand's government and Red Shirts protesters are committed to a faltering peace process despite twin attacks that left two police officers dead.

Grenade blasts and a drive-by shooting targeted security forces facing off against the anti-government Red Shirts at their massive rally encampment, which has shut down most of Bangkok's main shopping district.

One police officer died after grenades hit a security checkpoint near the edge of the heavy fortified camp.

The other officer was killed earlier when a man opened fire in the nearby Silom financial district, which is under heavy guard to prevent the protests spilling over into the area.

It's the latest outbreak of violence in a two-month confrontation in which 27 people have been killed and nearly 1000 injured in deadly clashes and explosions.

Earlier, four police officers were wounded in three explosions in Bangkok late on Friday.

Police said they suspected the blasts, close to an encampment of anti-government protesters, were caused by grenades.

The Red Shirt protests began on 14 March. The protestors support former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military in 2006.

Current prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva this week offered to hold new elections on 14 November. However, protest leaders are demanding a specific date for the dissolution of parliament.