Bangkok anti-government clash kills man

A 25-year-old man died after Thai anti-government protesters and troops clashed in Bangkok.

One man has died after Thai anti-government protesters and troops clashed in Bangkok.

The man was identified as a 25-year-old man, emergency services reported.

It is believed he was a protester who was shot during clashes seen by The Associated Press.

Earlier, a suspended military officer who has been working with anti-government protesters was taken to a Bangkok hospital after he was shot in the head.

Gen. Khattiya Sawasdiphol, who also goes by the name of Sae Daeng, is a renegade army major-general and Red Shirt strategist whom the government has called a "terrorist." 

A Red Shirt aide who would not identify himself told The Associated Press the injury was "severe." Protesters suggested a government sniper was the shooter, but those claims could not be confirmed.

The government's medical emergency centre confirmed that Khattiya was shot in the head and admitted to the intensive care unit at a hospital.

The shooting was reported after local media said that gunfire and at least four explosions were heard near the Red Shirt camp.

Following the violence, the government extended a state of emergency from two provinces to 17 to prevent rural protesters from travelling to Bangkok to join the Red Shirts.

Red Shirts guard camp

Anti-government protesters were sealing off their Bangkok encampment after the government said it would impose a military lockdown on the area to evict the thousands of protesters who have been camped out in the capital since mid-March.

The protesters believe Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government is illegitimate and have been calling on him to resign.

"The numbers of police on the streets is growing, roadblocks are going up," freelance reporter Michael McAuliffe said from Bangkok.

An anti-government demonstrator's automobile is searched for weapons at a Thai army security checkpoint in Bangkok on Thursday. ((David Longstreath/Associated Press))

McAuliffe, who described the situation in Bangkok as "extremely tense," said the Red Shirt protesters were "essentially closing all of the entrances to the protest camp" and sealing themselves off behind piles of tires and bamboo sticks.

The protest camp covers several blocks and has at least seven or eight entrances, McAuliffe said. He said the protesters posted security watches outside the perimeter to watch for a military advance.

Earlier Thursday, the government advised people to leave the area and warned local businesses to close early to avoid the lockdown.

McAuliffe said army vehicles have moved closer to the camp, but are hovering a few blocks away from the heart of the Red Shirt base.

Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the spokesman of the agency charged with ending the protest, said all measures would be executed according to international rules of engagement.

The government said armoured personnel carriers and snipers were to surround the protesters  — but McAuliffe noted that he had yet to see any army vehicles in the area.

Electricity cut: report

A reporter for TNN television said electricity went out in the Red Shirt protest zone in Rajprasong, a posh area of shopping malls, hotels and upscale apartments.

The government had threatened to cut off electricity and water supplies, but they suspended the threat late Wednesday, heeding pleas from residents and foreign diplomats in the area who said the impact would be greater on them than on the protesters.

The Red Shirts, many from the rural poor, are demanding an immediate dissolution of parliament.

Abhisit, who had previously resisted calls for a new election, offered to hold elections on Nov. 14, but withdrew the offer Wednesday after the Red Shirts refused to disperse, insisting that the deputy prime minister be held responsible for clashes between protesters and security forces that have killed as many as 29 people. 

Leaders of the Red Shirts were defiant, saying their supporters would never surrender and were not afraid to die.

With files from The Associated Press