SYDNEY: Australia is “very concerned” about political clashes in Thailand that have left 19 dead and more than 800 injured, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said today.
Smith urged Australian nationals to avoid the violence between the army and anti-government protesters in Bangkok, the country’s worst political unrest in nearly two decades.
“We very much want the Thai government and the Thai people to resolve these matters peacefully in accordance with Thailand’s democratic processes,” Smith told the Nine Network TV station.
“We certainly don’t want to see military intervention, but we have become very concerned about the deteriorating situation overnight.”
Five soldiers and a Japanese TV cameraman were among those who died in Saturday’s crackdown on ’Red Shirt’ supporters of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra in Bangkok, the emergency services told AFP.
The violence erupted when troops tried to clear one of two sites in central Bangkok occupied by the protesters for the past month.
“We strongly urge any Australians who are in Thailand to avoid demonstrations and to avoid the protests,” Smith said. -- AFP