The situation in Bangkok becomes considerably more volatile as two grenades rained down on the Health Ministry parking lot, yesterday, March 23, 2010, 700m from the building where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had been holding a cabinet meeting 30 minutes before. As a result, troop numbers were increased by 13,000 to add to the 34,500 police and army personnel already present, with another 17,000 extra put on standby during the extended period of the ISA enforcement.
March 24, 2010, [PDN]: The grenade blasts at the Ministry, fired from the expressway about 150m away, caused damage to the windows, the tyres of three cars and the parking lot’s roof. The grenade explosions at the Health Ministry’s Emergency Medical Institute parking lot immediately provoked claims and counter claims, with acting government spokesman, Panitan Wattanayagorn, saying it was an attempt to expose lapses in the state’s security measures and to discredit the government, whereas Red-Shirt leader, Natthawut Saikua, accused the government of instigating the grenade attacks itself to vilify the UDD.
Radical ex-red, Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, expelled for being too militant, denied any responsibility for the Ministry attacks, but warned ominously the government could expect more attacks to come. Meanwhile, Lance Corporal Bandit Sithithum, identified as the M79 launcher who fired a grenade at the Defence Ministry on Saturday, has now had a bounty of Bt500,000 put on his head. His accomplice has also had a facial profile issued and the manhunt to capture him extended.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reiterated that, despite the violence seemingly perpetrated against that his government, they won’t retaliate in kind, but nor would they step down. He also said, however that they would not allow the protesters to besiege any where.