For the fifth day now we have to witness firefights and clashes in central Bangkok.
The main thing to watch today is the ultimatum set by the government to the protesters to disperse at 3PM local time. It has not been announced yet what they will do after that.
In an email sent out to all German citizens, the German embassy has warned everybody in Bangkok to stay inside, since the last ultimatum is to be considered "very serious".
As usual, I'll try to keep this post updated.
Also, follow me (@Saksith), @bangkokpundit, @anasuya, @danieljrivers, @newley, @karmanomad, @vaitor, @photo_journ, @Journotopia, @aelacallan, @agnesdherbeys, @BKKApologist, @markmackinnon 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.
Note: All times are local Bangkok time
04:00h - Last update for today with the latest on the Ramkhamhaeng incident by German journalist Florian Witulski (@vaitor on Twitter):
police on ramkhamhaeng road, dont see any crowd yet... some people look a bit upset though
sorry for the delay // protester crowd from ramkhamhaeng moved towards lat phrao and divided into several small camps on intersections
the protesters are definitely not students // small camps build up very fast, little walls of tires are already finished at raminthra
each camp aprox. 100 protesters, at all not more than 300! // no violence, but reds have been really aggressive with me taking photos
03:00h - The situation at Ramkhamhaeng seems to have cooled off now. According to eyewitness reports, a group of the Student's Federation of Thailand (SFT) has set up a mobile stage (more or less a large truck) and were making a speech on the truck, when some a group of people were trying to break it up, causing some commotion. Also, it is reported that some gunfire was heard and the crowd dispersed.
02:22h - There are some conflicting reports coming in fightings at Ramkhamhaeng University after protesters attempted to put a mobile stage. Whether firearms were used cannot be verified at this moment.
An aide to Thailand's prime minister says a Red Shirt protest leader has called him and proposed a cease-fire between Red Shirt fighters and troops.
Korbsak Sabhavasu says he received a call on his cell phone Monday from Nattawut Saikua, one of the leaders of the Red Shirts, and they talked for five minutes.
Korbsak said he told Nattawut that if the Red Shirt fighters retreat to their encampment "there will be no single bullet fired by the soldiers."
At least 37 people have been killed in fighting between troops and Red Shirt protesters who are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the dissolution of Parliament and new elections.
"Protest leader calls Thai PM aide, seeks ceasefire", Associated Press, May 17, 2010
22:00h - Meanwhile, the stage in Bon Kai (Khlong Toei) that was set up yesterday has attracted more and more people. @bkknoboru, a Japanese journalist, has uploaded a picture of the scene and claims that "thousands of redshirts" have gathered there.
21:00h - CRES has just ended another TV announcement. Army spokesperson Col. Sansern was showing clips, including the "baby incident" earlier today and also a supposed looting of a 7-11 by protesters, but only the aftermath was seen - "only books and magazines were left there," Col. Sansern quipped. No mention of curfew or what the army will do after the deadline has passed for six hours now.
20:25h - Govt spokesperson Panitan said in the most recent BBC interview that the health of many protesters is poor and wants to send in medical teams to the rally site soon. He also states that "a political solution is still on the table".
Thai PBS reports troops have moved closer to Ratchaprasong & now staying at MBK - Map: [Link]
Tweet by @richardbarrow
19:30h - Photographer John Le Fevre reports a large group of people has assembled at the Victory Monument.
18:30h - Now in Bangkok at rush hour time...!
Thai authorities will give red shirts protesters more time to leave the area after a 3pm deadline passed, government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn said Monday.
The government's main focus is to convince women, children and elderly people who have received wrong information to leave the Rajprasong rally site. Authorities will set up more checkpoints around the city to prevent more chaos, Panithan said. (...)
CRES has failed to say what it would do if the red shirts did not meet the deadline.
"Red shirts given more time as deadline passes : Panithan", The Nation, May 17, 2010
17:55h - Picture of the petrol truck taken form Channel 3.
Situation at Bonkai escalates as petrol truck scene in the area; gunshots heard continuously
Channel 3 also reports the same.
17:50h - YouTube has removed the video of a baby at the barricades, but you can watch it here on CNN iReport.
16:40h - No major developments being reported from neither the rally site nor from anywhere else. Fights in many areas are still going, loud explosions and gunfire can be heard.
15:50h - Almost an hour passed the deadline now. Keep in mind the ultimatum was for the protesters to disperse, there was no word on what the authorities want to do after the deadline has passed.
15:01h - Deadline has passed now, there's still music and dancing at the main rally stage. Al Jazeera reports that negotiation talks earlier have collapsed
Meanwhile, this video has appeared online - it speaks for itself...
[YouTube has removed to video due to "violation of terms". Pffft!]
14:50h - 10 minutes left to the deadline and still no sign of anybody giving in.
According to the Erawan Center (of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) as of May 17 at noon, there have been 256 injuries and 35 deaths (see Thai language PDF). The breakdown of the 35 people who have been killed is here (Thai language PDF). Of the 35 persons killed there was 34 civilians and one solider.
"How many people have been killed and injured? May 17 Update", Bangkok Pundit, May 17, 2010