Thailand: Shutdown gets under way in Bangkok

Thai anti-government protesters, dressed up in national flags, stand during a rally at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Sunday ahead of today’s planned ‘Bangkok shutdown’. Pic: AP.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand braced for a new wave of mass unrest Monday as anti-government demonstrators blocked major roads to “shut down” Bangkok in a bid to thwart February elections and overthrow the nation’s democratically elected prime minister.

The intensified protests, which could last weeks or more, raise the stakes in a long-running crisis that has killed at least eight people in the last two months and fueled fears of more bloodshed to come and a possible army coup.

Overnight, an unidentified gunman opened fire on protesters camped near a vast government complex, shooting one man in the neck who was admitted to a nearby hospital, according to the city’s emergency medical services.

In a separate incident elsewhere, another gunman fired about 10 shots at the headquarters of the headquarters of the opposition Democrat Party, shattering several windows but causing no casualties, said Police Maj. Nartnarit Rattanaburi.[Read more]