BANGKOK — The Thai military declared a neighborhood of Bangkok a “live-fire zone” on Saturday and said it was calling in reinforcements as fighting spread to several areas in the city and the death toll in a three-day offensive against anti-government protesters rose to 17.
Gunfire and a series of explosions shook a neighborhood in central Bangkok that includes the city’s night bazaar and a kickboxing stadium. At least three people were shot in the head by what appeared to be sniper fire from tall buildings. In the Silom business district soldiers were seen positioned on rooftops and a waft of black smoke rose from fires set alight by protesters.
“I cannot say how many troops are deployed because of security concerns, but there will be reinforcements to help troops seal the area and step up pressure on protesters,” a spokesman for the army, Sansern Kaewkamnerd, told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.
The number of people injured rose to 154 by Saturday afternoon, according to the government-run Erawan medical center, in some of the worst violence in two months of unrest.