Blasts, shooting kill 1, wound 7 in Bangkok
A Thai policeman was killed and seven people injured, including five police, when a drive-by shooting and a series of explosions shook Bangkok's heavily guarded business district late on Friday, Reuters reported.
The shooting and explosions, which police suspected were grenades, took place after midnight in the Silom Road area guarded by soldiers and packed with hotels and bars popular with tourists. The area is close to the entrance to a fortified encampment held by anti-government protesters for four weeks.
The incidents will raise tensions in the capital after a week of calm as "red shirt" demonstrators hinted they may be able to strike a deal in the coming days to end a deadly crisis that has killed 28 people and wounded more than 1,000.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has put forward a plan to end the rallies that have crippled the capital and scared off tourists, but it remained in limbo as rival factions squabbled over details, including a proposed early election in November.
"We are not calling off protests as yet," Jaran Ditapichai told Reuters after meeting fellow leaders. "We have a proposal for Abhisit and we will talk about it in more detail later."
The stand-off has paralyzed the commercial heart of the capital for nearly two months, but its roots stretch back to the prime ministership of Thaksin Shinawatra -- a populist tycoon ousted in a 2006 military coup -- and the deep social divisions it exposed between Thailand's traditional elite and rural masses.
Thai stocks fell 2.1 percent on Friday, but other Asian markets were also in negative territory. Thai stocks have given up gains scored on Tuesday, when the index jumped 4.4 percent in reaction to Abhisit's reconciliation plan.