Two people have been killed and 45 wounded during political violence in the Thai capital, emergency services have said, as the opposition vowed a final push to overthrow the government.
“The confirmed toll is now two dead and 45 injured,” an official at the city’s Erawan emergency centre told AFP on Sunday.
The circumstances were unclear but the violence broke out after a confrontation late Saturday between opposition protesters and government supporters staging their own rally at a Bangkok stadium in support of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Leaders of the pro-government ‘Red Shirts’ have ordered tens of thousands of their supporters to end a mass rally in Bangkok after violence left at least one person dead and dozens more wounded.
“In order to avoid further complicating the situation for the government, we have decided to let people return home,” Thida Thavornseth told protesters gathered in a Bangkok stadium.
Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay speaking from Bangkok, said the move by the Red Shrits may embolden the anti-government protesters.
“The anti-government group plan to take over ten government facilities, and say today is the day that the government will fall,” he added.
One person was shot dead and at least 35 more wounded late on Saturday as anti-government demonstrators clashed with Red Shirts in the area around the stadium.
The demonstrators were seeking to topple Yingluck’s government, which they believe serves the interests of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power.
The authorities have exercised extreme restraint over the past week as the protesters besieged and occupied parts of various government ministries and offices, aware that using force could tip public opinion and perhaps become an excuse for the military to take power in the name of restoring order.
Conventional wisdom in the Thai capital has been that the protesters have been seeking that.
The shootings on Saturday night occurred after scattered violence during the day involving government opponents attacking several people they believed were going to a rally at a stadium of “Red Shirt” government supporters.