Graphic scenes out of the Thai capital following the bombing of a popular Hindu shrine.
A deadly blast occurred Monday evening in a busy area of central Bangkok, killing “at least 19″ and wounding hundreds more. The blast specifically was near the the Erawan Shrine, which is a religious statue depicting the Hindu God of creation, Brahma. The following video is CCTV footage as it happened.
Besides the shrine itself being a popular tourist attraction, it is located in a heavily trafficked and commercialised area of the Thai capital — right between two high end shopping malls, hotels and on the main transit line.
Given this, the explosion – which was detonated at approximately 7pm local time – did extreme damage. Furthermore, a nearby location was also found to contain a several other rounds of explosive materials. Fortunately they were safely disarmed by law enforcement officials.
All evidence points to a coordinated and thought-out attack. However the responsible party and their motives remain very much unknown, given the absence of a formal statement of responsibility.
This of course hasn’t stopped people from speculating.
The fact that it was a Hindu shrine that was attacked of course immediately leads many to believe that there were religious motives. However Thailand, relatively speaking, does not have much of a recent history of religious oppression and violence. It is true that there has been an ongoing dispute with the largely Muslim separatist movement in the southern provinces of the country for some time. However such an attack so removed and uncharacteristic of that conflict mean that any speculation connecting the two would be completely unfounded — bordering on conspiracy — given the current facts.
It’s much more likely that the target was chosen not due to any particular religious animosity, but rather as an attempt to inflict maximum damage on a busy, commercialized, and touristy area. This was the initial opinion of the Defense Minister, Prawit Wongsuwon, when he was quoted as saying the attack “targeted foreigners… to damage tourism and the economy”.
This still provides few specifics as to who carried out the bombing and and why this tragedy has been perpetrated. However recent reports are coming out of a second blast, as well as new CCTV footage of a potential suspect.
To stay up to date with this story as it unfolds follow the hashtag #bangkokblast on twitter