Crackdown on Thai protesters turns bloody; state of emergency extended in provinces

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The Thai authorities' latest attempt to bring an end to eight weeks of anti-government rallies turned bloody on Thursday night with one of the protest leaders shot and severely wounded in unclear circumstances and number of clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

In the aftermath of the protest leader's shooting, the Thai government has extended a state of emergency to cover 17 provinces to prevent rural protesters from joining the massive rally in the capital, according to the Associated Press. The decree gives the army broad powers to deal with protesters and places restrictions on civil liberties.

Maj. Gen. Khattya Sawasdipol, a renegade army officer whose views are regarded as extreme even by his political allies, was shot shortly after the beginning of a security operation designed to surround the sprawling, barricaded protest site in central Bangkok in an attempt to prevent support and supplies from reaching the demonstrators....

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