1 killed in grenade attack in Bangkok's anti-government protest site

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Bangkok, Nov 20 (UNI) One person was killed and more than 20 were wounded when a high-powered rifle grenade was fired early today on the anti-government protestors who have been forcibly occupying the Thai Prime Minister's Office in Bangkok for the past three months.

The attack follows a series of small bomb attacks in recent weeks on the influential People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) campaign which accuses Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat's government of being a proxy of coup-ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Rejecting the one-person, one-vote system of parliamentary governance, alleging it has been manipulated by Mr Thaksin's money power, the PAD has proposed a controversial ''New Politics'' which would effectively disenfranchise the country's rural majority.

The attack marks the end of a temporary 'cease-fire' accepted by both sides in the running confrontation between the PAD and Mr Thaksin's supporters during the week-long cremation ceremonies for the Thai king's elder sister which concluded yesterday.

The attack on the PAD protestors has ratcheted up political tension in the wake of Mr Thaksin's recent annoucement from overseas that he would re-enter the Thai political arena to defend himself from the political persecution he alleged has been launched against him, beginning with his ouster in the September 2006 military takeover.

Mr Thaksin is scheduled to address another large gathering of his supporters next month in Bangkok following a similar rally in the capital early this month when tens of thousands of his supporters had gathered to listen to his telephone speech from abroad.

UNI XC PD RAI1216

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