(6 December) The brief lull in the political confrontation in Bangkok came to an end minutes after His Majesty the King′s Birthday when an anti-government protester was shot by unknown individuals at Ministry of Finance.
According to witnesses, Mr. Banchong Pengsakul, a 46 year old resident of Surat Thani province, was serving as a volunteer security guard for the protesters and patrolling the Ministry, where the anti-government protesters have been occupying for a week, when two individuals on motorcycle approached him and shot at Mr. Banchong.
The assailants quickly fled the scene, and the protesters who witnessed the scene could not identify the type of the motorcycle used by the attackers. Mr. Banchong was later sent to Rajavithi Hospital; his condition is described as stable.
The attack was said to occur at 00.05 – several minutes after the symbolic date of 5 December, when anti-government protesters led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban agreed to suspend their political campaign for a day to observe the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King′s Birthday.
The truce came after the protests in Bangkok turned violent over the weekend of 30 November and 1 December, when anti-government protesters clashed with pro-government Redshirts in eastern Bangkok, leaving at least four people dead, and anti-government protesters engaging in fierce street battle with the police around Government House.
However, many Thais did not expect the truce to last following HM′s Birthday, and Mr. Suthep has previously vowed he would resume his campaign to oust PM Yingluck Shinawatra once the celebration is over.
Mr. Thavorn Senniam, former Democrat MP who is now one of the protest leaders, said two hours prior to Mr. Banchong′s shooting an unknown assailant also lopped small explosive device toward the protesters at the Ministry of Finance, but no injury was reported.
The former Democrat MP also criticised the police′s handling of the incidents, claiming that officers took more than an hour before arriving at the scene.
Mr. Thavorn added that he had instructed the guards to patrol the protest site more frequently, and he had requested his fellow protesters to park their cars along the compound′s fences to serve as a barrier from potential attacks.
Naewna newspaper and anti-government social network sites have identified the assailants who shot Mr. Banchong as "Redshirts agents", but the claim cannot be independently verified.
In an separate incident, anti-government protesters at Ratchadamnoen Avenue also came under attacks from a large group of teenage motorcycle gang who reportedly attempted to drive their vehicles into the protest site.
Mr. Pongthep Klangcharoen, 34, who serves as a volunteer guard for the protesters, said he was manning his checkpoint near Kok Wua Intersection around 04.00 today when over 100 Dek Vans approached the protest camp and tried to drive past the checkpoint.
When the guards refused to let them through, Mr. Pongthep said, the Dek Vans were visibly agitated, and they responded by throwing three small explosive devices at the protest guards. The motorcycle gang reportedly left the scene after the attack, but they later came back and threw more explosives at the protesters.
One protest guard and one Dek Vans were injured by the incidents, police officers said. They were both sent to Vajira Hospital.
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