BANGKOK — At least 12 people were killed at a major intersection in Bangkok on Monday night after an explosion shook the neighborhood. The blast occurred in front of the Erawan Shrine, an important tourist attraction in the city’s main shopping district.
The Thai authorities placed white cloths over parts of bodies ripped apart by the explosion at the Ratchaprasong intersection, the same area where a protest that stretched for months was dispersed by the military in 2010.
Debris and at least five motorcycles were scattered in the intersection as dozens of emergency vehicles arrived on the scene.
Charoen Sida, 37, a security guard who was preparing to start a 7 p.m. shift at a shopping mall next to the site, witnessed the immediate aftermath.
“Everyone was screaming and running,” he said. “There was a huge fire coming from a motorcycle. No one dared to go into the intersection.”
An hour after the blast, security personnel announced that a bomb had been discovered in the area and was being defused. They shouted to a crowd of onlookers, “Get out! Get out!”
Thailand has been under military rule since May 2014, and a number of explosions have been reported since the army seized control. However, none have been this powerful. Many windows in the shopping mall were blown out.
Bloodstains reached the second story of one of the shopping malls in the vicinity, a measure of the power of the explosion.