Once again, violence hits Thai streets

Police in Thailand's capital braced for possible trouble Wednesday, a day after a protest outside Parliament by pro-democracy demonstrators was marred by violence that left 55 people injured, including as many as six with gunshot wounds.

The protesters, enraged at what they regard as disproportionate use of force against them by police who employed chemical-laced water cannons and tear gas, gathered for another protest late Wednesday in central Bangkok.

Tuesday's protest was held as a joint session of the House and Senate debated seven motions for amending the constitution. A vote on the motions was taking place Wednesday. Any that are passed will have to go through second and third votes after at least a month.

According to Erawan emergency services, 55 people at Tuesday's protest were sent to hospitals, the largest number suffering from the effects of tear gas. It said four remained hospitalized Wednesday, including three of the six people it said had suffered gunshot wounds. The circumstances of the shootings were not announced.

Some of the injuries occurred during a brawl between the pro-democracy protesters and stone-throwing royalists who oppose constitutional change.

It was the worst violence during months of actions by the pro-democracy protesters, though police had previously employed water cannons at least twice. The protest movement has been staging increasingly determined mass rallies of thousands of people around the country.

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Free Press Journal