Thailand’s image as a peaceful, tropical paradise has taken a further battering, as anti-government protestors clashed with riot police. Some people were badly hurt: two men lost part of their legs when tear gas cannisters exploded nearby.
The worsening violence came as new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat was preparing his maiden policy speech in parliament. His deputy, who was in charge of talks with the protestors, later announced his resignation for failing to have resolved the crisis.
The protests have forced Somchai to run Thailand from Bangkok’s former international airport, Don Muang. He took on the job last month, but is accused of being a mere pawn of the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was removed in a military coup in 2006. Somchai said he is not considering re-imposing a state of emergency.