Pattaya Daily News

13 April 2009 :: 20:04:56 pm 1218

Anarchy in Bangkok

Anarchy reigns in the streets of Bangkok as developments happen by the minute but the clamp down on the media is restricting all but the international media from adequately reporting the breaking news.
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Abhisit has apparently abandoned his softly, softly approach following his humiliation on Sunday when he was forced to cancel the ASEAN Summit and evacuate leaders in an operation reminiscent of the American abandonment of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, after hordes of red-shirted protesters broke into the Royal Cliff. The premier has declared a state of emergency, which doesn’t seem to have been tremendously effective so far, but we shall see as events unfold.

Having said that, 77 people were injured as troops fired tear gas and shot into the air to disperse protesters from Din Daeng junction early today, Monday, with nineteen people reportedly being admitted to hospital, two civilians and two soldiers suffering gunshot wounds. Army spokesman, Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, had earlier announced “We will start with soft measures and proceed to harder ones. We will avoid loss of life as instructed by the government.”

However, Red Shirts maintain at least 3 of their number have already been killed by troops. In the early hours of the morning, the red-shirts had commandeered 2 police armoured personnel carriers from outside the Paragon Shopping Mall, saying they would deny the streets to the Royal Thai Police.

 

Meanwhile, the red-shirted protesters burned a bus, one of 6 commandeered by them, in the Din Daeng area towards Rajaparop Intersection around noon, today, which was soon put out with a water cannon, causing the protesters to retaliate by hurling fire-bombs.

In the same area of Din Daeng, at just after 1pm, residents were warned to evacuate as two gas trucks commandeered by the Red Shirts were liable to be torched by the protesters after they had opened the gas valves. at about 2:35 pm, some protesters apparently attacked residents of Din Daeng Flats after the residents shouted at them. Protesters had threatened to blow up one of the LPG tankers left in the middle of road in front of the flats if troops attempt to make a move on them.

The army still seems reluctant to resort to harsh measures as protesters clambered over tanks sent to keep the peace, and joined a swelling rally near Government House. A police spokesman estimated there were 30,000 protesters in various points around Bangkok.

Independent reporters maintain there is no firm evidence of who is exactly in control. The Din Daeng incident was the first time that the army has responded to the government’s orders since Abhisit declared the emergency at lunchtime on Sunday and ordered tanks and soldiers onto the streets of Bangkok. The army has generally appeared reluctant to confront protesters since action against riots in 1992 left dozens dead, and police moves against anti-Thaksin demonstrators last October resulted in two deaths.

Thaksin, rebel rousing as per normal told his supporters in two separate phone-in speeches on Sunday night, saying: “You don’t have to be frightened of this state of emergency.” He has said that he is willing to return and lead the street protests and what he termed “A People’s Revolution”.

smoke was seen billowing from the area of Victory Monument although apparently the area is now clear for traffic. The latest news seems to be that protesters have set fire to two buses and some tires at the Si Ayutthaya Intersection in Bangkok.

‘It remains to the seen if the security forces can control the situation. It is unlikely anyone can because there are so many splits and so many power brokers,’ said Charnvit Kasetsiri, one of Thailand’s most prominent historians. ‘No one seems to be in charge within the establishment, the government and the military.’

However, Supreme Commander Songkitti Chakkrabat chaired a meeting of all forces and national security agencies at 2pm today at the Thai Army Headquarters to discuss solutions to current crisis. In addition, former Senate speaker Suchon Chaleekrual has filed a petition, asking HM the King to intervene to stop the political violence. Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Bundej concerned that the government is using too much force has also called an urgent Senate meeting at the Senate Secretariat at 10 am Tuesday to discuss the political situation.

 

Meanwhile, after the fracas at the Royal Cliff at the weekend, where Arisman Pongruengrong, a Red Shirt leader had apparently told his followers to “catch” the prime minister. “When you see him, catch him and do whatever you like to him,” resulting in his arrest, things here in Pattaya seem to have returned to normal, normal for Songkran, that is, as the revellers hurl water at each other as though nothing untoward was happening nationwide.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Editorial

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