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Bomb blast near Bangkok protest site kills two, injures more than 20

A bomb blast in the Thai capital, Bangkok, has claimed at least two lives and injured almost two dozen people. The explosion comes a day after an attack on a protest in the east caused the death of a child.

A 12-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman died of their injuries following a blast on Sunday in the Thai capital, Bangkok, according to the website of the Erawan emergency center, which monitors Bangkok hospitals.

The blast, which reportedly injured at least 22 others, some critically, occurred in front of a supermarket and near an anti-government protest site in the center of the city.

Police could not immediately confirm the cause of the blast.

It comes as supporters of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said they were planning to take more decisive action against anti-government protesters who have been paralyzing parts of the city over the past months.

One of the leaders of the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Jatuporn Prompan, vowed to "deal with" anti-government leader Suthep Thaugsuban and his supporters.

Jatuporn Prompan, who is also a senior member of the ruling Puea Thai Party, was speaking on Sunday to thousands of cheering supporters in Nakhon Ratchasima, northeast of the capital.

Attack on rally

Sunday's explosion comes on the heels of an attack by unknown gunmen on an anti-government rally in the eastern Trat province, about 300 kilometers (180 miles) east of Bangkok, on Saturday night.

A young girl, whose age has been variously given as five or eight, died and 30 others wounded when the gunmen sprayed bullets at the protesters, who were demonstrating near food stalls where people were dining.

So far, at least 16 people have been killed, both protesters and policemen, in violence connected with the most recent political turmoil in the country, which has pitted Yingluck's supporters against opponents who claim her government is corrupt.

Most of the violence has taken place in or around Bangkok, where anti-government protesters have tried to shutdown several key intersections.

Obstinate political divide

Thailand has seen almost uninterrupted political conflict, sometimes violent, since Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, was ousted as premier in 2006 in a military coup after corruption allegations. Thaksin's supporters and opponents have since taken to the streets for extended periods in a long-running power struggle.

Yingluck herself faces not only street protests calling for her resignation, but also legal action for alleged neglect of duty over

a controversial rice subsidy scheme that lost public money.

She is due to hear the charges before an anti-corruption body on Thursday.

tj/hc (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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