see TURMOIL IN CITY Photos here : By Nation Multimidia
At least 77 were injured as troops, firing tear gas and shots into the air, moved in to retake the Din Daeng intersection near Victory Monument from protesters.
TIME LINE: Real-time Updates of Red-shirts Wreaking Havoc in Bangkok
Anti-government red-shirt protesters have wreaked havoc in the capital city of Bangkok and Pattaya in Chon Buri, instilling a sense of fear and dread for the Thai public and causing irrecoverable damage to the image of the Abhisit government and Thailand in the eyes of the international community.
Since April 8 the anti-government protesters have gathered in numbers, with some reports indicating that the number could have peaked to hundreds of thousands, and successfully forcing Thailand to postpone the ASEAN Summit by 3 months.
9.00: Clash between anti-government red-shirt protesters at the foot of the Phra Tam Nak mountain near the ASEAN Summit Venue
9.30: ASEAN-China meeting delayed
9.40: Press conference by government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn, reassuring that ASEAN leaders are ready to attend the summit despite red-shirt protest
12.45: Red-shirt protesters approached press center at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel
12.55: Protesters smashed glass wall of press center and raided the venue, members of the press continue to cover the raid. Liason officers were unable to leave the venue, some were clearly frightened.
13.45: Emergency Decree evoked for Chon Buri, PM Abhisit Vejjijva announced the ASEAN Summit is postponed by 3 months
18.37: PM Abhisit announced lifting of Emergency decree in Chon Buri after ASEAN leaders were airlifted out of the venue
12.05: Key red-shirt leader Arisman Pongruengrong who led the rain at ASEAN venue arrested
12.40: Red-shirt protesters demand Arisman to be released on bail
14.00: PAD leaders held a press conference to condemn action of red-shirt protesters and government’s failure to prevent chaos. The group demanded a Cabinet reshuffle to remove defence minister, army chief and others who failed to carry out responsibilities
14.39: PM Abhisit evoked Emergency decree for Bangkok and nearby vicinity
14.54: Red-shirt protesters entered Interior Ministry and mobbed premier’s car. Driver was beaten and attacked by protesters. Shots were also heard
16.30: DTV station lost signal
16.53: DTV resumes broadcast
18.00: Unconfirmed reports govt plans to disperse red-shirt protesters
18.30: Tanks and soldiers stationed at 50 risk areas in Bangkok and vicinity
19.00: Confirmation PM and other high-ranking government officials are at secure locations and have escaped relatively unharmed by red-shirt mob
20.30: Metropolitan Police met for 4 hours on dispersal decision, heavy presence of tanks and companies of military officers seen on Bangkok streets
04.17: Dispersal of red-shirt protesters at Din Daeng intersection began
08.30: Pheu Thai Payap Panket, former Sing Buri MP, called on red-shirt protesters to surround and possibly torch King Power duty free in Rangnam
08.39: Red-shirts closed traffic at Sri Ayutthaya intersection near Foreign Affairs ministry. Buses used to block entries. Tires were set on fire causing heavy fumes and lack of visibility in the area
9.15: Police requested members of the press to leave Democrats headquarters after red-shirt protesters have threatened to torch the compound
9.30: Red-shirts took back control of Din Daeng intersection, LPG tanker blocks entrance/exit
10.05: Police and military call for back-up, fearing red-shirts protesters may use LPG gas tanker to torch Democrats headquarters
10.11: Fire bomb allegedly thrown at and set fire to a traffic police booth near Transport Ministry on Ratchadamnern Nok Road
10.20: Red-shirts have once again occupied the Victory Monument
10.40: Democrats evacuated headquarters in response to threats by red-shirts to torch the compound with gas tankers
10.41: Pattaya police reveals red-shirt leader Arisman Pongruengrong is still under the custody of the Pattaya court
11.19: 50 red-shirt protesters gather in front of Rajavithee Hospital to demand the authorities release the bodies of protesters who have allegedly died during military dispersal of protesters
11.40: PM holds another national televised address to call for public to help cooperate with authorities to restore order and for protesters not to destroy public property with gas explosion
Troops, firing shots into the air, have apparently retaken control of the Din Daeng intersection from red-shirted protesters, according to TV news reports. There were reportedly some injuries but no immediate reports of death.
At least 77 people suffered minor injuries, many from tear gas, according to hospital reports. About five persons were seriously injured. The red-shirted movement claimed “several” of its members suffered gunshot wounds, and condemned the authorities’ use of live bullets in the crackdown.
TV news footage showed soldiers firing shots into the air. Tear gas was also fired, TV reporters at the scene said. A few hundred troops were involved in the operation.
At around 7.20 am, the government announced it was in control of the situation at Din Daeng.
The clash took place around 4 am and left about 50 soldiers and protesters injured, it was reported. Gunshots were still heard after 5 am, but not as intensely as when the crackdown began.
One TV reporter quoted “runaway” protesters as saying that there might have been some deaths. The government reported no death.
The troops were pushing from the Din Daeng intersection toward the Victory Monument. Protesters were scattered and retreated from the intersection to the moment. It appeared that the troops were in almost complete control of the Din Daeng intersection after 6 am.
Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Army spokesman, said 300 protesters were in the area when security forces including soldiers and police moved in. He said the troops first tried to negotiate with the protesters, who were allegedly armed with molotov cocktails and tear gas themselves.
He said the talks broke down after some protesters tried to ram buses against the troops.
“The troops had to fire into the air. I repeat. They fired into the air and took action against the protesters,” he said.
Some arrests were made, he said, adding that “reluctant participants” of the protest who were forced to stay by fellow protesters were released.
“Similar operations will be carried out in other areas,” he said.
Protesters have burnt tyres on a few spots in the Din Daeng area, and there have been concern that red-shirted protesters would resort to arson in response to the crackdown.
Gunshots at Din Daeng intersection could still be heard around 5 am, but not as intense as an hour earlier. TV footage showed some wounded protesters taken into military vehicles.
Earlier, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has assured the nation that there is no disharmony within the government as well as key agencies responsible for enforcing law and order.
In a late-night television address, Abhisit was flanked by all key government, military and police leaders, a setting apparently intended to stamp out persistent speculation that he was losing support of top police and military officers.
He said the rumours were intended to weaken the government which has been trying to restore law and order through peaceful means.
“There have been a lot of rumours and I would like the Thai media to report on the truth to the Thai public,” he said.
Among false reports, he said, were claims that security forces had already resorted to violence to suppress the red-shirted protesters.
The prime minister insisted that a united government remained confident that the situation would improve in the next few days.
Abhisit had vowed not to bow to the red-shirted protesters’ demand for him to either step down or dissolve the House, and expressed confidence that the military and the police, whom he had reportedly criticised in private, were still firmly on his side. It had been reported that Abhisit singled out police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan for sharp criticism following Saturday’s collapse of the Asean summit with dialogue partners.
Coup rumours were intense late Sunday afternoon but seemed to subside late into the night. Speculation now was focused on when security forces would move against protesters occupying some key areas in the city.
Residents in Din Daeng Advised to Evacuate
The Public Health ministry has advised the residents of Din Daeng to evacuate the area after the red-shirt protesters have seized 2 LPG gas tanks and threatened to torch key locations.
The ministry urged the public to evacuate as soon as they smell the fumes of LPG.
Abhisit urges protesters to go home– He said only peaceful rallies would be allowed