BANGKOK: A Thai protester was shot dead and another injured at a rally in the country’s south yesterday, officials said, following demonstrations calling for higher rubber prices.
In a pre-dawn attack, shots were fired at a group of protesters acting as guards at a rally site in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, local governor Viroj Jiravarungsan said.
One man, aged 29, died of his injuries in hospital, while a 25-year-old man was seriously wounded. It was not known who carried out the attack, but Viroj said there was concern that the incident could be used to “escalate the protest”.
Viroj said police had failed to access the crime scene to recover forensic evidence because a group of around 300 protesters had barred their entry. “The government clearly ordered that there be no violence used against the protesters,” he said.
Demonstrators, angry about a sharp fall in the price of rubber, have blocked a major road in Nakhon Sri Thammarat as part of protests that began on August 23. They have called for farmers in other regions of the country to encircle the capital Bangkok with other transportation stoppages in a more widespread demonstration on September 3. AFP