Associated Press Writer= BANGKOK (AP) — Thai troops fired bullets and tear gas at anti-government protesters rioting near the U.S. and Japanese embassies in an escalation of violence that turned central Bangkok into a virtual war zone after overnight clashes killed one person.
The fighting, which has killed 30 people and injured hundreds since the Red Shirt protesters began camping in the capital on March 12, plunged Thailand deeper into political uncertainty, threatening the country’s stability, economy and tourism industry.
The Red Shirts believe Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s coalition government came to power illegitimately through manipulation of the courts and the backing of the powerful military. They are demanding he dissolve Parliament immediately and call new elections.
“Use of force will not work. The government can’t control the situation,” said Nattawut Saikua, a protest leader.