BANGKOK, Feb 18 — Clashes between police and opposition protesters left four dead and dozens wounded in central Bangkok, as anti-fraud officials announced that the country’s embattled prime minister will be charged with neglect of duty.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission said on Tuesday that if found guilty of the charges – which relate to a controversial rice subsidy scheme — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could be removed from office.
The announcement came hours after gunfire and explosions shook an area of the city’s historic district just a short walk away from major tourist attractions, as riot police moved to clear sites of protest rallies.
Tear gas was also fired near Government House in the center of Bangkok, a Reuters news agency witness reported, as thousands of police officers, including anti-riot squads, were deployed across the city in an operation the government called “Peace for Bangkok”.
“One policeman has died and 14 police were injured,” national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew told Reuters. “The policeman died while being sent to hospital. He was shot in the head.”
Al Jazeera’s Veronica Pedrosa, reporting from Bangkok, said that when police attempted to clear the area with bulldozers and ranks of police, they were met with resistance.–Agencies