The week-long 'Shutdown Bangkok' campaign turned violent over the weekend, with two attacks marring otherwise peaceful protests.
A grenade attack on protesters near the historic Victory Monument on Sunday wounded 28 people. While on Friday, at Banthat Thong Road, another grenade attack wounded 35 and killed one person. A video of the first blast circulated through social media shortly after.
The attacks have been blamed by the government on a 'third party', although few are likely to be satisfied by such doublespeak.
The weekend attacks escalate the situation in the capital, from what were until this weekend largely peaceful protests. An estimated 170,000 people were camped out when protests began a week ago. This number had dropped to 10,000 by the weekend. The recent violence may see a return, in strength, of demonstrators to the streets.
What is most concerning are unconfirmed reports that Red Shirts are descending on the city in larger numbers. This escalates chances of further clashes between anti-government and pro-government groups.
The army, usually seen as bigger supporters of the Yellow Shirts than the Red Shirts, finds itself increasingly in the middle. Protesters are calling on them for protection from further attacks, which should be taken for granted in any democracy. Government and Red Shirt supporters, meanwhile, are increasingly concerned about the army taking sides and the possibility of a coup.
The powerful military continues to sit on the sidelines, although further incidents like those witnessed over the weekend will justify their greater involvement. A coup cannot then be out of the question.
However, this too holds risks for the army. While the army has previously been seen as supporting Yellow Shirts, its ranks seem to be more divided than before, and involvement in the political crisis could test the fabric of its allegiances. This has some experts worrying about the prospect of civil war, which, while still a long bow at present, came a step closer over the weekend.