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tv   News  Al Jazeera  August 17, 2015 10:00am-10:31am EDT

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>> an explosion in the center of the thai capital bangkok killed at least 12 people. hello, thank you for watching al jazeera. to come on our program, thai police have found a second bomb and are working to defuse it. that's the latest. so what we have at the moment is the latest cctv footage just before, then in a couple of
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seconds you would have seen the explosion take place. 12 people have been killed. there are suggestions that the death toll could actually go higher, up to 80 people reported by injured as a result of this blast. we also know that it is now a motor blast. these are the recent pictures there. you can see ambulances, police there on the streets. smoke also still going. we understand that the bomb disposal team were on the scene, and there was a second--there was a warning of a second bomb. an earlier indications are that we do have a second bomb, and they're working to defuse it. veronica pedroza is at the scene of the blast. veronica, a second bomb at the site? >> i can confirm that the emergency team work works have
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said that a second bomb has been found, and the bomb disfusal team is trying to defuse it. the first explosion was a bomb apparently on a motorcycle. high grade explosives were used. this is a very soft target a major commercial intersection. it is a place where you were turn to have civilians. thousands come to prayer at
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brahma. they would light incense and pay for dancers and singers to offer their prayers to get merit in the buddhist religion. there were store owners selling garlands. we pass them every day. it is now a scene of carnage. outside of the shrine there was no security. strong iron gates were blown outwards. hundreds of meters away. the force of the blast was such that the signs were shattered into pieces. we can see that the sniffer dogs have come in looking for other bombs. it's really a big sho shock because this is a city that has seen political unrest before,
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but not this kind of major attack. >> okay, so you said high-grade explosives. there has been unrest in bangkok. let'let's go through the likely suspects here. who would most people think would want to target a shrine like this? >> you know, it's far too early to say. the investigation is just under way. it's been only two hours since the bombs went off. it's impossible to say, but to describe the current political situation, the government is led by a military council that took over from democratically elected government in may last year. a draft constitution has been introduced, but there has been little from the public.
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there has been major crackdown. there are loyalists in place that gives the military right to prevent assemblies of more than five people. meanwhile, we know there has been a major muslim insurgency that has gone on for 12 years now. peace talks have gone on since june 25th. there is a struggle. this is the only part of thailand that has a majority muslim community. the thai coup leader, now prime minister, promised at the time that he took over that he would bring peace to the south in one year. we're very far from that. it continues to be a low-inten
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low-intensity conflict in which people die every day, but it does not get very much international attention. what we've seen is that there has been an increase. the last year the number of win and children who have been attacked have risen sharply because the people who are attacking are markets, schools, factories. >> looking at those live pictures on the streets of bangkok, we have ambulances that are coming and going, that police have cordoned in place. do you get a sense that the emergency services are well prepared for incidents like this? >> very much so. this is a very sophisticated
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city of 12 million people. like i said, they're not used to kind of attack, but this crossroads itself, it's intersection saw a major plight back in 2010, and the emergency services were al all in place then as they were now. all the injured have been taken away to hospital very quickly. although we do understand that there is still a body remaining on the pavement maybe about 100 meters from where i'm standing. it's just half body. it was severely mutilated. i think the death toll could yet rise with some of the injuries are very series. there were some 80 people injured. >> okay, veronica, thank you. we'll leave it there for now. veronica will have more for us later in the program here on
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al jazeera. just a reminder of what we know, 12 up to 15 people have been killed as a result of a large bomb. we understand that it was a motorcycle bomb placed outside or within the shrine, and this is at a major bangkok intersection. a very popular shrine. it's also at a busy corner where a number of top hotels reside including the grand hyatt. up to 80 people have been injured. these figures are upgraded as we continue. there is a search going on for a second bomb. the bomb disposal team were on the scene pretty quickly, and they have confirmed that they have found a second bomb, and they're in the process of trying to disfuse that.
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hospitals are dealing with a number of injured. we'll cross straight back to veronica, who is at the scene. we'll bring that to you on al jazeera. it's one of the worst single incidents in syria's war. we now know that more than 100 people were killed when syrian government planes attacked a marketplace on the outskirts of damascus on sunday. steve o'brien, on a three day visit to syria, said that he is horrified. [ sirens ] >> the blame droppe plane dropped the bomb in a busy marketplace. this town is regularly targeted by syrian government airstrikes, but sunday's attack was the worst yet. civil defense workers and others gathered at the site of the explosion to help move the wounded when more air raids hit.
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more than 100 people were killed and dozens of others were wounded. doctors at the field hospitals struggled to help those who survived. many of them were critically injured. according to activists on the ground the victims were civilians, women and children were among them. the attacks coincided with the visit of stephen o'brien to syria where he went to the battered city of homs. they have been unable to stop the violence and bring about a political settlement. but they're able to brin bring about the douma strikes. >> attacks on civilians are unlawful, unacceptable, and must stop. i appeal to every party engaged in violence and fighting to protect civilians and to respect
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international humanitarian law. >> syrian state media did mention the attack on douma, but a source was was recorded as s saying that nearby strikes targeted the headquarters of the rebel group the islam army. the group announced a new offensive against government forces and captured an army base. fighting around the capital of damascus has escalated in recent days. douma has been out of government control for years, but the military still control the skies. but civilians more often than not have been targeted. douma is at the door steps of the seat of power. the government will consider them responsible for the actions of the opposition. al jazeera, beirut. >> sri lankans have voted in
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elections. running for prime minister, he was in power for mine years as president until his defeat in january. >> voters queued early to cast their wall lots. in january they elected a new president. and on monday they return to vote for 225 members of parliament. >> it is my duty to cast my vo vote. >> the election is important for the country in every aspect. i think people have used their brains, and they'll vote wisely. voter identification and in hand, and people lined up at polls. this is the closest we've been able to get to gauge what is going on. the government said this is to insure that these elections are
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free and fair. election observers say this constituency has drawn more attention this time around because sri lanka's form president is one of its candidates. they've been watching proceedings closely. >> not far from here offices of all political parties are open. they are flying flags and posters visible. we've not seen election violence or violation. >> the result is not only to determine the political futures of a few very lan cannen politicians but also the direction of the country. al jazeera, sri lanka. >> more coming up on al jazeera. including we're live in the thai capital of bangkok where a bomb blast has killed at least 12 people.
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it wasn't science at all. >> there's a lot of lives at stake, a lot of innocent people. >> how many are still locked up? >> the integrity of the criminal justice system is at stake, plain and simple. >> "faultlines". >> what do we want? >> al jazeera america's hard-hitting... >> today the will be arrested. >> ground-breaking... >> they're firing canisters of gas at us. >> emmy award-winning, investigative series. >> we have to get out of here.
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>> the top stories on al jazeera and now breaking news. a motorcycle bomb has gone off at a major intersection in the center of the bangkok capital. it occurred at a hindi shrine. we understand that there is also a second bomb.
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what do we know about this, veronica? >> we haven't had any further word. rescue workers were telling us that a second bomb has been discovered in the shrine itself, and the bomb disposal unit is disfusing it. we pushed further away from the shrine. it's 200-meters back from us now. we've seen the- the canine-- >> veronica, we're going to speak to a guest--don't go away, veronica. we do have a political analyst on the line with us now. an analyst and columnist at "the nation" newspaper. thank you for joining us here.
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your reaction to this news? >> it's unprecedented. nobody expected there would be a bomb. and this was probably the worst bomb in the history of bang congress itself. it came a as a shock. >> do you say it's unprecedented as a bomb or the site itself. i understand that one of the intersections that it was located at, this is the scene of a lot of political demonstrations. >> yes, it is the scene of a lot of political demonstrations. it is unprecedented. bangkok has no history of 24, and it looks like it was an explosion planted and was not an accident. it's what the police chief said
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earlier this evening. >> it does appear to be a very organized attack, doesn't it? we have one on the motorcycle. a second device has been located, and the bomb disposal unit is working to disfuse that. that was placed on the screen itself. let's discuss who would have the capabilities of mounting such an attack in angle cock in such a high profile and popular seen like this in the capital. >> well, it's really too premature to really make a guess. it could be the separatist groups from the deep south of thailand, and some might argue that there were military teams itself. as far as the second bomb is concerned, the latest information is that it has proven not to be a bomb.
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we're not quite sure, and it's really too early to make projections. i think no matter who may be behind the bomb, it's imperative of the authorities must be able to find the cul culprit in order to maintain the confidence of the people and investors. >> there are no confirmation of any state of emergency as we speak. >> okay, tell us more about the site itself. we know its popular. the shrine is used by many hindus and possibly many buddhist as well. but the location of those hotels does suggest that there are a lot of foreigners located here, who come here.
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>> that's correct. it is an upscale area. [ dial tone ] >> that is a shame. we seem to have lost our guest there. veronica pedroza is standing by for us. veronica, you are there. it looks very calm at the moment. describe for us what is actually going on. there is a sea of emergency vehicles bomb disposal units and the military. this is a very concerning event. as you were just discussing wi this is a major commercial intersection. the tourism industry is one of the only sectors of the economy that continues to grow. tourism is extremely-- >> let me just jump in there. veronica, i'm just going to jump
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in there. as you're talking-- >> veronica, as you're talking there about tourism and people who attend that site. we're learning from routers sources say that up to 27 people have been killed. that could also include foreigners. so a lot of people abroad or at home watching very closely what has happened here. >> we haven't had any public confirmation about the nationalities of the injured or the fatality. but it is extremely likely that there are other nationalities. there was a big group of chinese mainland tourists who were there, many europeans. it really is one of the top three destinations, as i was trying to tell you a bit earlier. they come, they offer there are
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dancers and singers who tr try to gain merit in the hindu religion. there are women selling garlands and sparrows that are released as part of the rituals. we spoke to one woman who was here when the bomb went off. she said that her ears are still ringing. i arrived a half hour after the blast went off, and there was glass strewn across the way. there were several motor bikes toppled on to the floor outside
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of the shrine itself. it looks as if the bomb was placed on the pavement just right next to the shrine where at this time of the evening there would have been hundreds of people. >> we're also learning that a lot of those injured are taken from two hospitals, and there is an appeal for blood. bangkok itself. how well-set up is it to respond to an incident like this, veronica. >> this is a medical tourism destination. the standard of healthcare is very high. the injured will have got top attention. i arrived here a half hour after the blast, and there were no
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more ambulances in the area. everybody had already been taken away. i do have to say that as i walk down the major street over here on the floor i can see bloody paths, people were injured were hundreds of meters away. as i said this is a high grade explosive, and this is why we've seen this kind of force from the blast. >> human casualties from this attack the use of a motorcycle, that would be virtually invisible in a place like bangkok. >> yes, there are, indeed, thousands of motorbikes. many people on these motorbikes weave through the traffic. it is not an area that sees a
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high level of security even though it's a major tourist destination. look, the holiday inn is over there. the intercom is right next to it. the shrine is right next to the grand hyatt. there are one, two, three, four posh malls, anyone visiting would have been here. there are security guards, but they're mostly trying to do crowd control at the shrine because there are so many to offer prayers, so many tourists. they wouldn't be checking a motorbike. >> what has the tourism industry been like since the military took over.
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>> over the last few months it remains the one outstanding of the economy that continues to grow. exports are declining. production is also dipping. tourism, which is likely to be affected by this event, even though it is singular and unprecedented, it is going to be a massive blow for tourism. it is too early to say yet. the investigation is just beginning. but i would imagine that the thai government is going to be very concerned, to try to allay tourists' concerns, and try to
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assure the city and assure tourists and, indeed, bangkok residents, that they can be safe in the city. >> just saying that, veronica, just looking at some of the tweets that have been posted, they really are aiming to instill calm very quickly. there is no enforcement in the state of emergency decree in bangkok itself. and adding that all schools will be open tomorrow, this is coming from the secretary for education. it is critical, isn't it, that they show that they're in control and return calm to the center of bangkok? >> it is, indeed. this is an existential matter
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for the military from the moment that it took over as government. it said it was come in to make the situation safe. they said that there was a security threat across the nation. now this unprecedented event is going to be a major issue for the government to address. we're seeing a time of low level activity that could have profound long-term consequences. very little public debate because that is the nature of the control of freedom of expression that the military government has placed on society here, for example. there is to be a cabi cabinet
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reshuffle. a constitution was to be introduced earlier today. that will be voted on probably in early september, and it would allow for a referendum on the constitution in turn paving the way for general elections that could signal the end of the military government. but there is so much political issues at stake that there is a lot of talk that the opposition may--that the government may try to influence that the constitution be voted down, allowing the government to stay in power another six months into early 2017. >> okay, veronica, thank you very much for that. you're watchin watching that very closely for us. just to remind