22 Jan 2014

Thai 'red shirt' leader shot

9:04 pm on 22 January 2014

A leader of Thailand's pro-government "red-shirt" group has been shot, as a 60-day state of emergency came into effect in Bangkok and nearby provinces.

Presenter Kwanchai Praipana.

Presenter Kwanchai Praipana. Photo: AFP

Kwanchai Praipana, a local radio presenter who played a large role in Bangkok protests in 2010, was wounded at his home in Udon Thani in the north.

It came as anti-government protesters continued to block parts of Bangkok to force the Prime Minister to resign, the BBC reports.

The emergency decree gives the government wide-ranging powers. Imposed late on Tuesday, it covers Bangkok and three surrounding provinces. It gives the government the power to control crowds and censor media, but it remains unclear how it will be enforced.

The emergency decree gives security agencies the power to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare parts of the capital off-limits.

The protesters - who began their campaign in November last year - say Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government is being influenced by her brother, exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

The protesters want an unelected "people's council" to run Thailand until its political system is changed.

Ms Yingluck has refused to step down and has called an election on 2 February, which the opposition are boycotting.

The state of emergency was announced after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and comes after a spate of attacks with explosives and firearms on the anti-government protesters blockading central Bangkok for which the government and the protesters blame each other.

On Sunday, 28 people were injured when grenades were thrown at one of several protest sites set up at major road sections in the city.

A young boy holds a sign reading 'Damn decree' in reference to the state of emergency in Thailand.

A young boy holds a sign reading 'Damn decree' in reference to the state of emergency in Thailand. Photo: AFP