Deadly shooting takes place following Thai anti-government march | News | DW | 01.04.2014
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Deadly shooting takes place following Thai anti-government march

Unidentified gunmen have fired on anti-government protesters in the Thai capital, Bangkok, causing several casualties. It is the first violence in several weeks in Thailand's political conflict.

One person died and four others were wounded on Tuesday when unknown armed assailants fired shots into a protest march in northern Bangkok, medical officials said.

It is the first fatality to occur for weeks during Thailand's long-running political unrest, and brings the death toll in the past five months to 24.

Protesters have been calling since November last year for the resignation of Yingluck Shinawatra, currently the country's caretaker prime minister following annulled February elections.

The protests were unleashed when Yingluck's Pheu Thai party tried to push through an amnesty bill that would have benefited her billionaire brother, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been living abroad in exile since being overthrown in a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption.

Thaksin faces a two-year prison term on charges of abuse of power and legal action on a number of other charges if he returns to Thailand.

At their height, the anti-government protests drew hundreds of thousands of people, but numbers have since dwindled following a number of attacks on rallies.

Yingluck appeared before anti-corruption authorities on Monday to face allegations of dereliction of duty over her government's controversial rice subsidy scheme.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has accused her of failing to stop the allegedly corrupt program, which made losses of more than 400 billion baht ($12.5 billion, 9 billion euros) in 2012-2013 according to World Bank estimates.

Yingluck handed over a defense brief of 200 pages to the commission and requested that she be given the chance to submit more evidence in her defense.

If indicted, Yingluck would have to suspend her duties while the Senate decides whether to impeach her. Weekend Senate elections, however, seem to have made it more unlikely that she would face impeachment in such as case, as preliminary results showed a strong showing for candidates linked to her party.

An impeachment vote would require a three-fifths majority. Thailand's 150-seat Senate is made up of 77 elected senators, with the other 73 being appointed. The appointed members are seen as largely opposed to the government.

tj/mz (Retuers, dpa, AP)