UN chief, governments urge peaceful solution to Bangkok conflict
Governments and international organizations on Saturday expressed growing concern over street battles in Bangkok, and called on both sides to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict, DPA reported.
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) clashed with troops since Thursday, leaving 16 dead and around 150 injured. The government is trying to dislodge the protestors from the site they occupied in central Bangkok on April 3.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York expressed concerns over the violence and appealed "to both the protesters and the Thai authorities to do all within their power to avoid further violence and loss of life."
In Washington, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, "We continue to strongly encourage everyone involved, everyone engaged, to show restraint and to find a way to work peacefully through these differences, and do so in a way that strengthens democratic institutions."
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called for an end to the violence.
"The ICRC urges all concerned to respect and protect injured people, medical personnel, medical units and vehicles used as ambulances," said Christian Brunner, who heads the organization's regional delegation in Bangkok.
"Health workers, including medical personnel from the Thai Red Cross Society, must be allowed to perform their duties unhindered."
The UDD raided Chulalongkorn Hospital, near their protest site, on April 29 in search of suspected snipers but found none.
In total, some 45 people have died in clashes and attacks since the UDD started its Bangkok protest on March 12.
The protestors want Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve parliament and hold new elections.
On May 3, Abhisit agreed to hold an election on November 14 on the condition that the UDD end its protest.
But the UDD insists that Abhisit and his deputy prime minister in charge of security, Suthep Thaugsuban, be legally accountable for a previous crackdown on its followers on April 10, which left 25 dead.