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Mysterious gunmen fire on Thai protesters

Opposition protestors march in Thailand in November, 2013.
Opposition protestors march in Thailand in November, 2013.
PHOTO BY: PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/131126/thailand-masses-occupy-ministries-protest-against-dem

Unidentified gunmen fired on Thai protestors in Bangkok last night, Thailand’s national security chief told CNN. Several men on motorbikes with their identities concealed opened fire on peaceful protestors under the cover of darkness. One individual was killed and up to seven were injured.

"I want to urge all sides and everybody, please don't clash and fight. We're all Thais. We can think differently but we cannot kill each other,” Gen Prayuth Chan-Ocha, Army chief, said on Saturday.

There have been eight protest-related deaths since the opposition gained intensity approximately two months ago. Angry over alleged political corruption and suspicious that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s policies are de facto orchestrations by her ousted brother Thaksin Shinawatra, protesters aim to void the upcoming snap election and shut the country down for one month starting January 13th.

The country’s future hangs in the events of the coming weeks. The demonstrator’s slogan is “Reform before election,” calling for the dissolution of the current government and the creation of an unelected “people’s council.” A military coup is a probable outcome, considering the near-dozen successful coups the military has staged since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. A third possibility is a judicial coup, should the country’s courts and independent oversight agencies decide against the Shinawatras' “political machine.”

Thailand’s Election Committee urged the government to postpone the coming elections in order to prevent more protest-related shootings. "The current violence that just took place, it is something that we have already signaled to those who are responsible that it could happen," the committee said. "We urge the government to postpone the election until a joint agreement from both sides is reached."