Live-Blog: The Crackdown, Day 4

Latest developments report that a curfew might be imposed in all the affected areas. As of now it has not been officially announced yet. The BBC reports that it has been cancelled for today. Many reporters confirm that somehow supplies (i.e. food) have reached the rally site after food shortages were reported due to the blockade by the army and, as one reporter of The Nation claims, some looting of the nearby shops has begun. The same reporters from The Nation also have claimed to saw pick-ups "disguised as medical vehicle" smuggling food into the rally site.

ThaiPBS reports that the largest group of protesters at the Rajaprasong rally site are women and elderly. The red shirts have now begun to relocate all children, women and elderly protesters away from the stage into the nearby located Wat Pathum Wanaram (location of temple). CRES have urged the red shirts to disperse by Monday 3PM.

Needless to say, BTS Skytrains and MRT Subways have suspended their service today again and for tomorrow as well. Also, all Bangkok schools were asked to close for another week, as tomorrow would have been the start of the new school term.

The official medical authorities have announced the numbers of deaths and injured since Thursday is now at 25 (all civilians) and 215 respectively (PDF file).

As usual, I'll keep this post updated. Also, follow me (@Saksith), @bangkokpundit, @anasuya, @danieljrivers, @newley, @karmanomad, @vaitor, @photo_journ, @Journotopia, @aelacallan and @aleithead on Twitter for live updates. Also check this map of dangerous zones in Bangkok which will be constantly updated by Richard Barrow, AVOID THE RED AND GREEN AREAS AT ALL COST.

Also, feel free to comment and post footage you found online or took yourself.


22:20h CEST: Last update for today: New York Times has written an article earlier today about the negotiation efforts of the red shirts.

After three days of wild street fighting that left 29 people dead and hundreds wounded, the leader, Nattawut Saikua, also offered to withdraw militant fighters from the streets and negotiate if the government called a cease-fire and withdrew its troops.

But he put forward a condition that was immediately rejected by the government, insisting that any talks be mediated by the United Nations. Such a condition would have legitimized the protesters as an internationally recognized party to talks. (...)

"Thai Officials and Protesters Fail to Agree on Talks", by Seth Mydans and Thomas Fuller, New York Times, May 16, 2010

If this highlighted part was not a translation error or something similar, it was the first time that the red shirt leaders have acknowledged the presence and link to (probably black shirted) militant fighters. Whether it is true or not, the government and the CRES will exploit this soundbite with pleasure.

One of the demands by the red shirts was that the United Nations to mediate between them and the government. But as mentioned earlier, government spokesperson Panitan already essentially told the United Nations to f*** off not to intervene into an internal matter.

21:40h CEST: Military journalist Michael Yon is currently tweeting from the basement from the Dusit Thani Hotel. According to him the gunfire and explosions have ceased, but he still stays put. Check his tweets for his Facebook page for updates.

20:40h CEST:

Guests at Bangkok's Dusit Thani hotel opposite Red Shirt camp told to shelter in basement after building hit by gunfire, explosion - AFP

Tweet by @markmackinnon (Mark MacKinnon)

16:15h CEST: Wow! What a CRES presser that was? As mentioned before Col. Sansern has trying to rebuke the pictures and videos that have been circulation including (including this video of army snipers and these facebook pictures of killed civilians) and lastly what showing a soldier firing what was captioned as "M79 grenade launcher", but Col. Sansern rebuked this and showed that it was actually a tear gas launcher. And to show how it worked he whipped this out:

Talking about a PR disaster...

15:40h CEST: CRES has made it's third TV announcement today. First a letter from deputy prime minister Suthep essentially saying that friends and family members of protesters in the Rajaprasong area should contact them and urge them to leave.

After that army spokesperson Col. Sansern is briefing the public on pictures and video that are circulation on the web. Details later.

14:00h CEST: Apparently a small mobile stage has been set up at Klong Toei. Pictures by John Le Fevre.

13:45h CEST: CRES has made another TV appearance, govt spokesperson Panitan Wattanayagorn has announced that the next two days (May 17, 18) are declared public holidays. Also, state of emergency has been declared in five more provinces: Ubon Ratchathani, Mahasarakam, Roi-et, Nongbua Lampoo and Sakol Nakhon.

Furthermore, Panitan has dashed the red shirts' earlier calls for an international mediator or the United Nation to interfere, basically saying the UN to f*** off saying that the Thai govt will not allow foreign intervention as it is (still) a sovereign country.

The CRES announcement ended that the govt will impose financial sanctions on 113 companies and individuals that are involved with the red shirt protesters.

13:10h CEST: This amateur video shows a man wearing a black balaclava and an assault rifle (may be M16) running past a soi in Bon Kai - the same spot as the picture below (notice the big red sign on the other side of the road). The people were running back into the soi because they thought this armed man would be a soldier.


13:00h CEST:

A curfew will not be imposed at the moment as security forces can still control the situation, Aksara Kerdpol, the army's assistant chief of staff said Sunday. "It's not necessary to use that measure now," he said.

Center for the Resolution of Emergecy Situation's spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said earlier that a curfew has become necessary to stop the armed red shirts.

A meeting of authorities concerned met at about 2pm to decide whether to impose curfew. The timing and the exact locations of the curfew will be announced later, Sansern said.

"Curfew not to be imposed : army", The Nation, May 16, 2010

11:50h CEST:

All around me unarmed men. Saw one protester across road return fire with what looked like handgun concealed by a box. 1st weapon I've seen.

Tweet by @aleithead (Alastair Leithead, BBC)

11:40h CEST:

"Din daeng at 16.30" (Picture by Alessandro Ursic)

Live pic from rama 4/klong toey market tires just delivered. (Picture by @lindavanderwijk)

11:20h CEST:

"Massive tire fire in front. Army still shooting. Pinned for now." (Picture by John Le Fevre in Bon Kai)

"Plume of smoke. Heavy gunfire. Whizzes not bangs. Bon Kai, Bangkok." (Picture by Mark MacKinnon)