Thai Riot

'Live-Fire Zone' in Bangkok

Six people were killed Saturday as anti-government protesting in Bangkok escalated into a "live-fire zone," according to the Thai military. That brings the number killed in the clashes to 22 over three days, with 172 injured. At least three people were allegedly shot in the head by snipers. The soldiers are using guns, grenades, barricades, and sharpshooters to try to contain the protesters, known as Red Shirts, who are using petrol bombs, stones, guns, and homemade rockets. The Red Shirts, mostly from poor, farming, and working-class communities, say the government is illegitimate and are calling for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to resign. The turmoil has paralyzed parts of Bangkok and casualties could rise dramatically if soldiers raid the neighborhood where protesters have encamped, which they have so far avoided. The chaos is an indication of the declining power of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who once had the power to unify Thailand but has been largely silent since the conflict began—a disappointment to many Thais. The king was able to soothe conflicts in 1973 and 1992, but his lack of action this time indicates the collapse of the monarchy's ability to stitch together a consensus, experts say.