BANGKOK, Thailand – Grenades were fired at a newspaper headquarters and a court in Thailand’s capital, police said Friday, as political tensions heat up ahead of a court ruling over the fate of the prime minister. No one was hurt in the attacks.
The first grenade left a small crater outside a building in the Daily News compound in northern Bangkok’s Lak Si district on Thursday night, police Col. Kamthorn Auicharoen said.
Another grenade landed Thursday night inside the gate of the Administrative Court in the city’s northern outskirts, near an anti-government protest site, he said. It was not immediately clear whether the grenade was aimed at the court or the protesters.
“Both attacks used the same type of weapons,” Kamthorn said. “However, we have not been able to see the suspects from the CCTV footage.”
The attacks came ahead of a court ruling expected in the coming weeks that could force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down. She is accused of abusing her position by removing the Council of National Security chief from his post in 2011.
The judiciary is seen as part of the Thai establishment, which has long been hostile to Yingluck’s brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup and lives overseas in self-imposed exile to escape a corruption conviction. Thaksin’s supporters believe the country’s elite feel their privileges are threatened by Thaksin’s popularity, especially among rural and underprivileged citizens who benefited from his populist programs.
It was unclear why the mass-circulation Daily News was targeted. The Thai Journalists’ Association condemned the attack, calling it “a serious threat to the media.” The Daily News headquarters was also attacked by two grenades in 2007, but no suspects were arrested.
Grenade attacks and shootings have occurred frequently in Bangkok since anti-government protesters took to the streets in November, calling for Yingluck to step down for serving as a proxy for her brother. More than 20 people have been killed and nearly 800 injured in protest-related incidents.
On Wednesday, a pro-government activist and poet who opposed a law that punishes critics of Thailand’s monarchy was fatally shot in northern Bangkok.