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    Feb 26, 2014

    Thailand in danger of sinking into civil war


    THAILAND risks sliding into civil war after a wave of political violence that has claimed 21 lives, including those of several children, top security and army officials warned yesterday.

    Near-daily gun and grenade attacks in protest-hit Bangkok have raised concerns that a nearly four-month-old political crisis is entering a dangerous new phase with both sides refusing to back down.

    More than 700 people have been wounded since demonstrators took to the streets for rolling rallies aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and ending the political dominance of her billionaire family.

    Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith warned yesterday that the situation may "escalate into civil war". He urged "restraint and patience" on both sides of the political divide, during a televised address by officials handling the security response to the crisis.

    His comments echoed a similar warning from the head of the army.

    General Prayuth Chan-ocha wrote in an SMS message to AFP: "There will be civil war if all sides do not respect rules."