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Page last updated at 04:17 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Bomb in Bangkok injures 10 guards

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A small explosive device has been thrown at an anti-government protest camp in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

Ten volunteer security guards were injured, two of them seriously, said Police Captain Pompet Chotelang.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack on the protesters camped on Makawan Bridge, near the main camp in the grounds of parliament.

Protesters want to depose the government, which they say is a proxy for exiled leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

The protesters have been camped out in and around Government House and on the bridge for months, during which time the country's judiciary has been pursuing corruption cases against Mr Thaksin and his wife.

Violent moments

The bomb was thrown directly at guards for the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) camp, which is near the United Nations regional headquarters, by two people on a motorbike at 0300 local time (2000 GMT on Wednesday).

Anti-government protesters in Bangkok
Protesters want to change Thailand's voting system

The police said two of the men were critically injured and six needed hospital treatment.

"Initially, police believe it was a hand grenade but we have to wait for the forensic examinations," Capt Pompet told reporters.

The English-language Thai newspaper The Nation reported that gunshots were later heard near Government House and that another explosive device was thrown at the home of a Constitutional Court judge.

PAD's protests have been noisy but largely peaceful.

But violence broke out on 7 October when police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters who were trying to prevent the opening of parliament under new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Two people were killed and about 500 injured at the time.

Country chasm

The country is deeply divided between the majority who continue to vote for Mr Thaksin's People Power Party and his colleagues, and the vocal protesters of the PAD who want any vestige of Mr Thaksin's power wiped out.

Mr Thaksin was convicted earlier in October of violating a conflict of interest law in a property deal and protesters are pressing for his extradition from Britain where he now lives.

In recent months the judiciary has also deposed Mr Thaksin's ally, former prime minister Samak Sundaravej.

His successor, Mr Somchai, is a brother-in-law of Mr Thaksin and so is still distrusted by the protesters.

The PAD argues that the largely rural base of support for Mr Thaksin is uneducated and says the voting system should be changed from one-man one-vote to a more controllable system of professional constituencies.

No-one else has yet emerged who seems capable of bridging the yawning gulf that now divides Thai society, correspondents say.



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