Tensions in Thailand have heightened after three grenades exploded at a military base in Bangkok during a mass anti-government rally in the capital. Two soldiers were injured in the blasts.
It is unclear who was behind the attack but it came shortly after Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ignored an ultimatum by protesters to quit and call fresh elections.
Speaking on national TV he said: “We cannot give an answer to the protesters this afternoon. The government has to listen to the people who did not join the protest. So we will not do as they’ve asked.’‘
An estimated 150,000 red-shirted demonstrators, supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have flooded into the capital.
The organisers have promised a peaceful rally but have vowed to cause widespread disruption if their demands are not met.
Some 50,000 soldiers are deployed in Bangkok and the latest disturbances will do little to ease fears of a repeat of last year’s street violence.
Thousands of protesters are also converging on a separate military compound where premier Vejjajiva is currently holed up.
They have branded his government, which is backed by the military, as an unelected elite.