Pattaya Daily News

29 April 2010 :: 14:04:50 pm 19314

Soldier killed, 19 persons wounded in Vibhavadi clashes

BANGKOK, April 28 (TNA) - One Thai Army soldier was killed and 19 persons were wounded in a confrontation between security forces and anti-government Red Shirt protesters on Vibhavadi Road in the northern Bangkok suburbs.
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The trooper shot in the head was not identified, nor was the source of the bullet which killed him.

The dead soldier was identified as Pvt Narongrit Sala of the 9th Infantry Division based in the central province of Kanchanaburi.

Army troops and riot police have retreated from the clash scene, and Red Shirt protesters have returned to their Ratchaprasong rally site after the hours-long confrontation.

Dr Petchpong Kamjornkijjakarn, director of the Bangkok municipality’s Erawan Medical Centre, said 19 persons were wounded during a confrontation between security forces and protesters.

He said ten persons were sent to Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital, three to Rangsit General Hospital, four to Prachathipat Hospital and one to Vibhavadi Hospital.

Army troops deployed near Don Mueang Air Force Base on Vibhavadi Road Wednesday afternoon fired warning shots of rubber bullets to turn back a convoy of Red Shirt protesters led by Kwanchai Praipana as they were approaching the troops.

The protesters fired homemade ‘bang fai’ rockets to harass the helicopters overhead which were observing the situation.

With security forces in full riot gear to push back the protesters, the Red Shirts retreatrf a hundred metres further from the confrontation scene.

Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan, monitoring the situation at the group’s main rally site at Ratchaprasong intersection, said that protest leader Natthawut Saikua was coordinating with Mr Kwanchai to return to their protest site at Ratchaprasong if the route is impassable.

The standoff was however temporarily suspended due to a heavy downpour, but both the troops and Red Shirts were still staying around the site.

Protest leader Kwanchai was reportedly detained by security forces during the chaos, but Mr Jatuporn said Mr Kwanchai successfully escaped from the scene and was staying in a safe place.

The confrontation came shortly after some 2,000 Red Shirts in a convoy of 150 pickup trucks and hundreds of motorcycles moved from Ratchaprasong to Talad Thai market to intercept the security forces to enter Bangkok to disperse them, as well as, to boost the morale of local Reds after police broke up and dispersed their roadblock holding back reinforcements for Bangkok on Monday. (TNA)

The Thai government’s Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) will apply similar measures to deal with the anti-government ‘Red Shirt’ United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) if they decide to rally at state television NBT on Thursday, according to CRES spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

At a CRES press conference, Col Sansern confirmed that one army soldier was killed and 19 other persons were wounded in Wednesday’s confrontation between security forces and anti-government Red Shirt protesters on Vibhavadi Road in the northern Bangkok suburbs.

Military weapons including 40mm shells were seized from the protesters when the authorities blocked them from going to Talad Thai market on Wednesday, he said.

The 62mm munitions which could be shot from M-79 launchers were on display at the press conference.

Fourteen UDD red shirt protesters were detained, he said.

Col Sansern said the seized arms were not from the army but could be smuggled from the border.

Asked whether live bullets had been used during Wednesday’s operation, the CRES spokesman said only that the soldiers were flesh and blood and the protesters also have military weapons, and that it was necessary to prevent the protesters to come close to the ranks of the police and army.

As for the dead soldier, he said investigation was needed to know the cause of death.

Assistant national police chief Pol Lt-Gen Worapong Chiewpreecha said the operation on Wednesday was carried out with difficulty because there were commuters on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road who were caught in the crossfire of the clashes.

The security forces found it was difficult to differentiate betweem protesters and non-protesters as the Red Shirts had changed their tactics to wear many colour outfits, street clothes, rather than their distinctive red garb. (TNA)
reporter : reuters.com

Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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