Monday, April 13, 2009

April 13, 2009, the Black Songkran

Thailand faces another black day in politics. Follow the developments as they happen here.

Latest Update

6.30pm: Narenthorn Emergency Centre's director Chatree Charoenchivakul in his interview with Thai PBS denies the rumour of death caused by the crackdown. "We are doctors and we have medical ethics. We'll certainly report the death if there is any." He says that the latest report shows 94 people injured of which 24 are in serious conditions. The injured people are both civilians and military officers and they are treated equally.

5.50 pm: Gunshots have been heard for around 10 minutes around the Army headquarters. Initial TV reports say it might be the result of a clash between red-shirted protesters and some people angry at their aggression. No injury is immediately reported.

5.45pm: Troops take control of the Royal Plaza area and there is no report of casualty. However,NBT reports that there are still a number of protesters left near the Education Ministry. The TV report says there is a sign of fire near the ministry and the officers now deploy force to investigate.

5.30pm : Audience in Khon Kaen and around 10 provinces in the upper Northeast are unable to watch news report on NBT channel as the red-shirted group demanded the station to cease broadcasting. After the rally in front of the station, the protesters are reportedly moving to block part of the Mitaparb Road and traffic has started to be congested.


Tension remains very high in the Din Daeng area, with retreating protesters putting up resistance near the Din Daeng flat and holding the community hostage by threatening to blow up a gas truck. Following is our live report. Please refresh the page regularly to see the updates:

1.30am Three bombs are shot to Constitutional Court. One exploded while two did not. Police said the bombs could be M79 type.

4am : Anti-government protesters and military officers are injured as the government has employed a force to disperse the protest near Din Daeng Intersection in Bangkok. Gunshots were heard until 5.30am. Soldiers insisted they fired the shots to the air.

4.30am : Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan says another leader Arisman Pongruangrong had been bailed out.

5.45am : Red Shirt leaders at Government House call for more people to join the rally.

6.00am : Army spokesman says soldiers fired tear gas at Din Daeng Intersection only after protesters threw molotov cocktails at them and tried to hit them with a bus.

6.40am Protesters park 10-wheel gas truck on in-bound Vibhavadi-Rangsit road in Din Daeng Triangle area to prevent soldiers from coming in. Both directions of the road are closed.

Protesters drive truck fuelled by NGV gas into the compound. The truck uses several NGV cylinders and the protesters shouted that the flat residents should leave immediately, prompting speculation that the protesters would explode the gas tanks

7.15am Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva sets up a committee to direct the implementation according to Emergency Decree, authorising the Supreme Commander as the director to fix emergencies and prohibiting blockade of any roads in Bangkok and other effective areas.

7.20am Deputy PM's Secretary-General Panitan Wattanayagorn tells a press conference Monday morning that some protesters were arrested, detained unharmed. Army Spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the protesters were detained at "proper place" without elaborating.

7.30am Protesters at the Royal Plaza round up 15 journalists, saying they reported unfairly. The group attempt to attack, forcing journalists to leave.

8am Protesters seize buses and use them to block Si Ayutthaya road. Some burn tyres at nearby intersections.

8.45am Police beef up force from 200 to 300 officers to secure Democrat Party headquarters on speculation that protesters would raid the place. Police later ask reporters and cameramen to move away from the area for fear that they would be injured in a possible clash with protesters.

9.30am Weng Tojirakarn tells protesters to seize four buses and use them to block Orathai Bridge and Misakawan intersections.

9.50am Protesters confront and throw molotov cocktails (bottle bombs) at soldiers around Din Daeng Intersection while (the protesters) retreating to Din Daeng flats.

10am Protesters park an LPG gas truck at King Power Shopping Mall.

11.20am The director of Rajavithi Hospital insists Monday that no protester was killed during the crackdown at the Din Daeng Intersection early Monday.

11.45am Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva addresses live on TV, denying death report in the morning. He added that 23 soldiers and 47 protesters were injured. Four soldiers suffered bullet wounds.

He calls on people to cooperate by filing information. He also tells people to be confident that the government is trying to restore order as soon as possible.

12.00pm Protesters burn a bus at Din Daeng Triangle. Gun shots were heard.

12.03pm The gas truck is removed from King Power.

12.10pm Pheu Thai MPs threaten to mobilise more people to join protesters if the government does not stop using weapons, open an urgent joint-meeting among MPs and the Senate.

12.30pm PM's deputy secretary-general Panitan Wattanayagorn, on TV, ensures foreigners' safety and that the government is gaining control of the situation.

Red Shirt's D Station black out.

12.10pm : soldiers continue to clash with the red-shirted protesters at the entrance to the Din Daeng elevated road. As the lastest, the protesters reportedly tried to drive a bus into the soldiers but the officers counter that with gunshots thus the bus crash into the bridge railing. There was no report yet if anyone was killed.

At 12.15pm, an explosive sound is heard followed by smokes from a public park near the Victory Monument, where there are only the red-shirted protesterd.

While soliders continue to push the protesters out of Din Daeng area towards the Victory Monument direction, the demonstrators set on fire a bus that was parked in the middle of the road.

At 13.00pm, it was reported that soliders manged to take hold of all corners of the Din Daeng triangle and the red-shirted protesters backed towards Rajaparop Road. Twenty people were reported to be injured from the clash there.

13.30 pm: Thick smoke is spotted at the Victory Monument. Red-shirted protesters reportedly set tyres on fire just opposite the Rajvithi Hospital and some protesters also drove a car over a fiberglass police statue near the monument. Police also ask people to get out of the pedestrian bridges around the monument but the skytrain station was not closed yet.

2.30 pm: Din Daeng flat residents and some officers try unsuccessfully to negotiate with red-shirted protesters who parked a gas truck near the flat the community. Gas valve has been secured and the authorities shower water on the truck. Although the protesters claimed the use of the gas truck was only meant as a blockade, there was increasingly fear among the residents about an explosion.

2.45 pm: Tension is very high between flat residents and the protesters. One TV reporter reports seeing protesters beating and chasing some residents.

Source: The Nation

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