Crackdown on Bangkok protests
Thai government said it has been forced to take action after demonstrators disregarded an ultimatum by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to evacuate Bangkok city business and tourists centers. The Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation ( the Thai Army) will completely seal off roads around the Ratchaprasong rally site to block protesters from joining the rally. The CRES announced that the complete blockade would start at 6 PM today Thai time (Tokyo 8 PM).
Tanks and thousands of troops converge to town center. Military army chief Anupong Paojinda opposed the use of military force to reclaim the Ratchaprasong area from the red shirts. Senior military officers were reported as uneasy about Abhisit passing operational responsibility to them, according to local sources. Abhisit has pushed for the military to deal with the red shirt protesters while dragging his feet on finding a political solution to the crisis. Rumors of a Coup d'Etat and Martial Law with Generals taking over the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva circulate now in Bangkok. All transport and communications are to be stopped. Population advised to leave the area, and stay home. No civilan will be able to enter Ratchaprasong after 6 PM.
Snipers carrying real weapons and live ammunition are reported to move into position. However, heavy weapons such as machineguns and grenades would not be used. "Live ammunition would be used and fired into the sky to scare away attackers, to protect the lives of security personnel, and to shoot armed assailants", according to the Bangkok Post newspaper quotes of CRES spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd
Anti-government protesters have ignored an ultimatum by the government to leave their Bangkok barricades. The red shirts or the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have barricaded roads and closed down Bangkok’s chic shopping district in a campaign to force the government to disband Parliament and call elections. At least 27 people have been killed and nearly 1,000 wounded in ensuing violence between protesters and security forces.
Sources: Agencies, and Reporter's notes