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Warning of violence after bombs found in Bangkok

 In this photo taken on Sept. 8, 2010, Thai soldiers patrol through a business district in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's government called for tighter...
 In this photo taken on Sept. 8, 2010, Thai soldiers pass an elephant statue while patrolling through a business district of Bangkok, Thailand. Thaila...

Thailand Security

In this photo taken on Sept. 8, 2010, Thai soldiers patrol through a business district in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's government called for tighter...

Thailand Security

In this photo taken on Sept. 8, 2010, Thai soldiers pass an elephant statue while patrolling through a business district of Bangkok, Thailand. Thaila...

Thailand's prime minister warned Thursday that the upcoming anniversary of the country's 2006 military coup could inspire violence, after three unexploded bombs were found in the Bangkok area, including one outside a school and another at the Health Ministry.
The homemade bombs, hidden inside fire extinguishers, were the latest in a spate of explosions and attempted attacks that have rattled the Thai capital in recent months.
Bangkok remains under a state of emergency imposed during massive anti-government protests in April and May that took over much of the central commercial district. Ninety-one people were killed and more than 1,400 wounded, many in clashes between demonstrators and troops and police.
The demonstrators were mostly supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in the Sept. 19, 2006, coup after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the country's constitutional monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The "Red Shirt" protesters were demanding that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thaksin's political rival, call new elections.
Abhisit said authorities will need to be extra careful in the period around the coup anniversary. He said the perpetrators of recent attacks may have been acting for political reasons, and "would certainly like to use the symbolism of the occasion."
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban voiced frustration over the authorities' apparent inability to catch suspects and stop the bomb scares, which have continued despite a highly publicized security plan announced last Friday that placed 454 high-risk spots in the capital under surveillance.
Teams of soldiers and police were assigned to patrol the homes of prominent royal and political figures, checkpoints were set up at government offices and other symbolic locations and security was tightened at public places like shopping malls and banks.
"The culprits have set off explosions many times," Suthep told reporters. "The officers must have accumulated evidence and witnesses that could prosecute them."
Following a meeting Thursday with national police chief Gen. Wichean Potphosree, Abhisit defended the authorities' actions.
"The officers have made some arrests and several cases are being prosecuted," he said. "It's just that they couldn't catch the culprits in every case. I think we need to be fair to them."
Before sunrise Thursday, police defused a bomb placed on a pavement outside a secondary school in central Bangkok. The device was hidden inside a fire extinguisher that was stashed in a black backpack.
On Wednesday night, police found two similar devices on the outskirts of Bangkok, including one in the parking lot of a shopping mall and the other in the parking lot on the Public Health Ministry's compound.
Police said the three devices would have produced a blast radius ranging from 50 feet to 100 feet (15 meters to 30 meters).
A half dozen grenades have exploded since July at targets connected to the government, killing one person and wounding a dozen more. There have been no claims of responsibility for any of the attacks.


Updated : 2021-03-01 15:56 GMT+08:00