The situation in Bangkok took a turn for the worse last night. It all started when the Thai Prime Minister cancelled the proposed elections for November and sent the army in to surround the Red protest site (see google map “Bangkok Dangerous”). If you study the map, you will see that the Red Zone covers a large area that includes Bangkok’s main shopping district at Siam Square and Ratchaprasong. With the elections now cancelled, the Reds had nothing to lose. We are not sure yet exactly what happened last night. We don’t think it was the start of a crackdown. However, the international media reported that Red Shirt military leader “Seh Daeng” was allegedly shot by a sniper shortly after dark. It happened while he was in the middle of being interviewed by a group of reporters including a journalist from the New York Times. I really hope that this wasn’t an attempted assassination by the Thai government. At this moment in time, we do not know who shot Seh Daeng who remains in critical condition in hospital.
The situation at the moment is that all BTS skytrain stations and MRT underground stations in or near the Red Zone are closed today. All shopping malls in this area are also closed. The US, UK and Dutch Embassies are all closed today. The army is supposed to be controlling the perimeter but reports coming in suggest otherwise. Last night, the red shirt protesters were able to stop and turn back a bus load of police reinforcements. During the night there was sporadic gunfire and explosions. Clashes left at least one protester shot dead and nine injured. This morning, it seems quieter but we are receiving reports of firecracker explosions at Sala Daeng area in front of Lumphini Park. As I said before, Bangkok is a large place and it is easy to avoid the danger zone as the red shirts are not mobile at the moment. However, many embassies advise their nationals to avoid all but essential travel to Bangkok. But, the rest of Thailand is safe and you won’t meet any protesters on the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.
Visit the “Bangkok Dangerous Map” for live updates. You can also follow me on Twitter @RichardBarrow for latest reports from Bangkok.
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