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Pattaya Daily News

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19 May 2010 :: 12:05:40 pm 20912

Troops Bust Red Barricades as Violent Crackdown Continues

Thai army soldiers and armoured vehicles successfully broke through the bamboo/tire barricades that surround the main anti-government Red Short encampment on Wednesday. This most recent advancement is seen by some as the final move by the Thai government to force protesters into disbanding from Bangkok’s CBD.
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Bangkok, the 19th of May 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Troops broke through the barricades and begun firing tear gas and automatic rifles at the Red Shirt protesters, various reports have claimed that up to 5 protesters have been killed in the recent advancement although this is yet to be confirmed. At the nearby police hospital, at least 8 soldiers have been admitted injured, following retaliatory attacks by the defiant Red Shirt protesters.

Along with the barricade busts, armoured vehicles where seen moving in towards a group of some 5,000 strong Red shirt protesters in an attempt to disperse their continued rally. Various soldiers ‘snipers’ were seen shooting on the protesters from an overpass above the situation. Journalists and photographers have now been refused access to the location.

Originally, soldiers warned any protesters wishing to leave the area that the military were about to conduct an ‘operation’ before grenades of tear gas and automatic gunfire was heard coming from the scene. Protesters in response ignited their remaining walls of tyres and continued to throw objects including crude home made rockets, fireworks and slingshot projectiles at the army. Two buildings were set on fire on the periphery of the protesters encampment, a bank and a government building.

United Front For Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders urged protesters not to initiate the violence, stating; “We must not start the violence. We will stay here together and fight together.” This announcement was made from the main rally stage of the Red Shirt protesters, a sight which they have occupied in the center of Bangkok’s financial district for over 6-weeks.

An unnamed source reported an interview with one of the many North Eastern Thai protesters, who stated “I have no plan to flee. I am here to fight for better Thailand. I don’t mind dying for my country.” At the time, the 54-year-old man was preparing a homemade rocket/firework to volley into the advancing heavily armed soldiers.

A government spokesman revealed that despite the current push on Red Shirt protesters, which he said would last the entire day, the aim was not to evict the gathered demonstrators from the area, but to contain them. Deputy Prime Minister and orchestrator of the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) stated that “evicting people from the encampment had to be a last resort.”

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Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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