Being on the spot in Bangkok is not a good scene.

Bangkok 2PM May 15 2010

imageThis week  when I returned to Bangkok the scene is far from good.  While I was at a business dinner last night in the peace of the famous Enocteca Italian restaurant, violence was erupting just nearby in the city for the second day running.

This morning when I awoke 16 more people are dead including some foreigners with scores more injured as the government tries to end the two month long protest rallies.

Heading along the 2 Km stretch from my home in Sukhumvit to our Bangkok office in Central World in Chilton is not an option as it stands in epicenter of the troubles. On that stretch all business there is now closed.

All around the city in the last few days I have seem army and flak jacketed police which tells the tail of the tensions here. To visit one of our clients in the east of the city means I have to go past the Prime Ministers home which since the trouble began has been heavily guarded.

Following last nights violence as I went for some breakfast nearby this morning, I was most disrtubed at hearing a motor bike rider say he had just seen three people lying dead on the road near the rally zone. He said  they been left unattended because no-one wanted to risk their life to remove the bodies.

As an insight to the perspective of some who is involved in the troubles, sadly this morning I read a former senator and secretary of a children foundation, Wallop Tangkhananurak, called on leaders to immediately evacuate children and aged people from Rajprasong rally zone. Wallop said about 70 per of the demonstrators are children and aged people.

And this morning Silom Road, which is always bustling, became deserted. It has just been reported that only a few 7-Eleven shops are remaining open. At 10:30 am , troops used orange plastic roadblocks to set up several layers of barricades to seal off the area.

The escalating gravity was lifted on Thursday when Seh Daeng, who is one of the protest leaders was shot. He remains in critical condition after being shot in the head while engaged in an interview with foreign press.  This and ongoing events is reported to be fueling calls by protest leaders for people in some provinces to come to Bangkok to bolster the protesters.

I just heard report of two explosions being heard in front of the Ua-Chuliang Building near the Saladeng Intersection  (11:40 am Saturday.) The sound of gunfire followed the explosions.

The major area of troubled activity is in the clusters around the Rajprasong intersection as shown on this map


Needleless to say, it is not a safe scene to be in the streets near the troubles so the advice is to keep a safe distance and don’t venture far. I intend doing just that until I leave for Australia next week.



Following May 15, 2010 chronology published in the Nation earlier this morning shows events of a military operation to close in on the red shirts’ protest site.

12.12pm: Five thousand troops start blockading Suan Lum Night Bazaar and fire tear gas. Gunshots are heard shortly afterwards.

12.15pm: Soldiers fire tear gas to reclaim the area near Suan Lum Night Bazaar that was occupied by the red shirts on Thursday night. Protesters try to besiege the troops inside the night market, and smoke is spotted coming out from inside Lumpini Park.

12.30pm: The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration rejects police request for city officials to drag away a police truck set ablaze by protesters at Sala Daeng intersection, saying its officials would be under threat from the gunfire exchange.

1pm: Protesters burn car tyres opposite the Lumpini Boxing Stadium, about 100 metres from the Thai-Belgian Bridge. Sporadic gunfire is heard. A clash between security forces and protesters kills one man and injures 20 others, three of whom are journalists.

1.30pm: Protesters outside the boxing stadium attack security forces with slingshots and petrol bombs, while soldiers respond by firing several rounds in the air, followed by teargas and rubber bullets. Twenty protesters are arrested.

1.50pm: Protest leader Jatuporn Promphan announces on stage that the situation could lead to civil war.

2.30pm: Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, spokesman of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, tells the press that government forces have secured the area around the Thai-Belgian Bridge and set up road barricades on Wireless Road.

3pm: Reinforcements of troops are sent to guard Government House.

3.20pm: Troops and red shirts clash at Rajprarop intersection and there is noise of gunshots. Protesters retreat to the Pratunam intersection.

4.20pm: Red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua calls on the government to order troop withdrawal and rescind the emergency decree.

4.25pm: Residents of Rajprarop Soi 4 and Soi 6 try to boo away red-shirt protesters, who are armed with petrol bombs and looking to confront soldiers.

4.30pm: Ruam Katanyu Foundation worker Sarayut Amphan is accidentally shot in the arm during a clash in Soi Ngam Duphli.

4.50pm: Protesters throw burning tyres from the Sala Daeng overpass at soldiers waiting at the foot of the bridge. Noise of gunshots and firecrackers is heard from the protesters’ side, while soldiers fire into the air periodically.

5pm: There is a confrontation between both sides near Dusit Thani Hotel and the Thai-Belgian overpass. Burning tyres cover the area with smoke.

6pm: Two grenades, believed to have been launched using an M-79 grenade launcher, explode in Soi Sala Daeng and in front of the Dusit Thani Hotel. There are no reports of injuries.

6.20pm: Explosion is heard at the red-shirts’ stage on Rajprasong intersection, as speakers jump down and tell protesters to duck. No injuries or deaths are reported and the cause of the explosion remains unknown.

6.40pm: An armoured vehicle moves into Sala Daeng intersection from Wireless Road. Protesters throw bottles, petrol bombs and lit firecrackers at troops.

27 thoughts on “Being on the spot in Bangkok is not a good scene.

  1. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

  2. Good day! This was a really great post about what has been goinig on there! Great blog generally too.
    I come from Italy and I find it so interesting to be able read first hand from people like actually on the ground who can feel and acrually smell what is going on.In other parts of the worldit is hard to understand the reality as News papers tend to tell the facts without any feellng. This sort of insght lets me learn much more. I say hank your very much I am now now a regular follower. best AR

  3. Bangkok Wednesday May 19th

    This morning around 10:30 am troops secured the protesters stronghold areas around the King Rama VI Statute in front of the Lumpini Park. Troops used armoured vehicles to demolish the bunkers and moved in to secure the area. Thay then moved to secure other areas.

    Natthawut Saikua annouced from the rally stage at Rajprasong to stay and fight along with protesters, dismissing speculation about fleeing or surrendering in the face of advancing security forces.

    Around 11.00 am, the security forces have moved passed Sarasin Junction heading to Rajprasong along Rajdamri Road.

    Women, children and the elderly have been allowed to seek refuge in Wat Pathum Wanaram, the designated safety zone.

    The red-shirt leaders still remaining at Rajprasong include Natthawut, Jatuporn Promphan, Kwanchai Praipana and Nisit Sinthuprai.

    Arisman Pongruangrong, weng Tojirakarn and Suporn Atthawong have been absent since the morning. Police subsequently confirmed Arisman fled in a Yaris car

    About 1.40 pm today, red-shirt leaders arrived at the Royal Thai Police on Rama I Road, located next to the Rajprasong rally site, to surrender. that seemed like a relief to many that it was all over. But that was short lived as riots and burnings broke out across the city.

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva later issued state of emergency in Kalasin and Mukdaharn after riots spread to the provinces. The riots broke out in many spots in Bangkok after some red shirts leaders surrenders to police, ending Rajprasong rally site.

    Tonight the government imposed a curfew in Bangkok from 8 pm to 6 am. which will be in place until further notice

    Arisaman Pongruangrong, a red-shirt leader, was then arrested, in Plonechit area near my office at Central World. It was reported that he was taken to the Naresuan Border Patrol Police Base in Hua Hin. (That is 3 hours outside Bangkok)

    The Criminal Court today also approved arrest warrants be issued against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and nine other people on charge of terrorism.

    Angry protesters set fire to 27 spots across the capital. The fire at CentralWorld was still out of control at 9 pm tonight.

    Here is a full list in lastest first order of the updates I got via my SMS today Bangkok Wednesday May 19, 2010

    • Fires erupt at 27 spots across Bangkok
    • Thai Airways International will operate regular scheduled flights
    • Arisaman arrested: reports
    • Court approves arrest warrant against Thaksin, 9 others on terrorism charge
    • Police Hospital evacuates patients from building opposite from Central World
    • Central World building may collapse after arson attack
    • Transport Co cancels bus services after 8 pm
    • Outbound travellers need to show travelling document
    • Kalasin and Mukdaharn under state of emergency
    • Protesters set fire to at 1east 15 spots in Bangkok
    • Curfew imposed 8 pm to 6 am
    • Protesters loot Siam Square, set fire to Siam Theatre
    • BTS suspends service Thursday
    • Looting taking place at Central World
    • 4 troops, 1 reporter injured in M79 attack on Thai-Belgian Bridge
    • Angry protesters set fire to Channel 3
    • Fire breaks out at 7-Eleven shop at Din Daeng
    • Nation staffs told to go home
    • Gunfight continues at Din Daeng Intersection
    • Curfew to be imposed in Bangkok Wednesday night : defence minister
    • Protesters set fire to Central World
    • Protesters burn tyres on Lard Prao Road
    • Pockets of red shirts continue to riot
    • Summary of operations to gain control of Rajprasong
    • Italian reporter killed in Bangkok clashes
    • Red-shirt leaders surrender to police
    • Jatuporn pleading with his red shirts to end protest
    • Banks to close at 1.00 pm
    • Jatuporn to surrender at police headquarters
    • Natthawut vows to fight on at Rajprasong
    • Thai stocks exchange closes 12:30 noon Wed
    • Panithan: Red-shirt leaders have fled
    • Troops detain 20 red shirts protesters
    • At least two killed at Saladaeng clash
    • 20 armed men in black captured by soldiers, Arisman believed fleeing
    • 2 injured in clash at Samyan Intersection
    • Troops secure area in front of Lumpini Park
    • Panithan urges public members to stay away from besieging areas
    • Thai stocks open down 5.27 pt, 0.69 pct
    • Thaksin responsible for collapsed negotiations: Korbsak
    • Senate cancels mediation talks
    • Banharn calls for decisive, swift action to contain terrorism
    • Protesters seized Thai Com satellite uplink station in Nonthaburi
    • Rubber tyre fire near Chulalongkorn Hospital put out
    • Gunfight erupts at Saladaeng
    • Protesters set tyres alight at Saladaeng Intersection
    • Protesters torch ONCB’s cafeteria building
    • Troops push protesters back from Saladaeng Intersection
    • Govt troops prepares to disperse red shirts at Rajprasong
    • Dow ends down

  4. Bangkok May 18th 2010 7PM

    Aradio station report At 7 pm said that a fire broke out at the Siam City Bank, Din Daeng branch. It said fire trucks could not be deployed to put out the blaze because the road was blocked by huge piles of rubber tyres. The fire was starting at the time of the report

  5. BANGKOK May 18th 2010 4PM

    PM’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtaey said the government would not mind if senators could help ask reds to agree to a ceasefire.

    But Satit said the only way to end the crisis peacefully is for protesters to disperse so terrorists could not exploit the demonstration.

    A group of senators offered mediated talk between the government and the red-shirt leaders. The red-shirt leaders said they welcomed the mediation by the senators.

  6. Bangkok 6PM May 17, 2010

    Right now as I am watching the TV here in Bangkok there are signs that violence will erupt again Indra Hotel Area with tires being paces in front of the hotel in readiness to burn.

    It is not sure if it is protestor or other ill meaning people. The Soldiers have prevented anyone from entering the area so no civilians are present.

    Soldiers have also let people know that three shots in the air means warning if people intend to set them alight or cause trouble.

    In the Bang Kai and Ding dang area are still critical area. There is a taker stolen from a petrol station presumably full of fuel that has been rolled into the road and people shouting fireworks constantly at the truck in an attempts to ignite. The TV news reporter nearby is trying to find out if the truck is loaded and if there is full on board.

    Wireless s road just now is quiet and peaceful just now.

    Gun fire has been regular in Rama VI but other than this it is quite just now.

    It seems from the reported information following a phone call at 4 from the government to redshirts official who since have had a meeting it seems they are ready for negotiations. The content of the conversations is not known but it presumed it was somehow persuasive.

    At Victory monument it is difficult for security as protester have taken control of the area .One of my staff lives in the Victory monument area and who is on the line to me now says she is staying indoors as there is shooting nearby and a lot of redshirts and police and army are there. It is very dangerous on the streets.

  7. Here is some of the red-shirt language about protesting and not using violence.

    Weng Tojirakarn (the UDD Leader) was repoted as having told red-shirt protesters this morning (Monday) not to loot shops and break ATM machines. Protesters should befriend people in the neighbourhood instead of looting. He is further aledged to have said “Looting would cause the public to hate the demonstrators, and would eventually cause the red-shirt movement to lose.

  8. Bangkok Monday 2PM May 17 2010

    Protesters have until 3pm to leave the Rajprasong rally site, Deputy government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn has just been reported as saying.

    Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) issued an ultimatum for women, children and elderly people to abandon the rally site before 3pm today saying vehicles would be provided for them if they want to return home.

    After 3pm, the CRES will consider what to do after the deadline.

  9. Bangkok 10:30 AM May 17 2010
    Known as Seh Daeng, Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdiphol was pronounced dead at 9:20 AM this morning Bangkok time

    Last thursday the Red shirt leader was mortally wounded when he was shot in the head while being interviewd by the foreign press. A hospital salspkesman where he has been in a critcal condition since announced his death at a press conference this morning

  10. Bangkok May 17

    106 bank accounts have been frozen as a measure to cut support for red-shirt protesters.

    The CRES said the accounts include 13 firms. Bank accounts frozen include red-shirt leaders and former Thai Rak Thai excutives. The accounts of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and his family and Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdiphol were also frozen.

  11. Bangkok 10AM May 17 2010

    Here is the SMS update I just got

    Three RPG rockets were fired at the Dusit Thani Hotel late Sunday night, prompting evacuation of tourists and reporters staying inside.

    One of the rockets caused fire but was quickly put out.

    Later in the morning, the hotel told all customers to check out by noon for their own safety.

    The rockets landed on the 21st and 17th floors.

    Only skeleton of staffs would remain working.

  12. One of the hardest things to do in Bangkok now is get good information. Especially being foreign. One way is to get news is subscibe to SMS headlines sent fromthe newspapers.

    For exaample I got this update last night.

    Nine people were killed in clashes between security forces and protesters on Sunday, raising death toll of three days of violence to 33, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Emergency Health Service Centre announced.

    From Friday to Sunday, 239 people were injured, including six foreigners – a Canadian, a Polish, a Burmese, a Liberian, an Italian and a New Zealander.

    Since the red-shirt movement held its rallies in Bangkok on March 12, 63 have been killed and 1,659 injured.

    The Nation

    It seems The Nation news is always consistent and seem accurate as they know it and thru the day they are great. But timing at night seems to be in line with the office operation Hours: Monday to Saturday at 8.00 am. to 5.00 pm and Sunday at 8.00 am. to 12.00 am.

    I just saw on the News that Ducit hotel in Saladeng has been bombed but there is still no SMS

    This morning is a declared holiday because of the issues and school term start has been delayed. But at 9:30AM now in bangkok I wonder if they are working or still out getting their morning coffee.

  13. It looks like some progress could be made soon with this headline “Red shirts demand UN-brokered truce talk”

    It is interesting here that the protesters language and tone as quoted in the Nation newspaper . They are using terms like cease fire, pull out troops from besieging a they are making a call for government to stop calling protesters terrorists.

    Here is the Nation newpaper quote.

    “Red-shirt leaders Sunday evening resolved to hold a talk with the government on condition that the government must pull out troops and allow the United Nations to broker the talk.

    Natthawut Saikua told a press conference that the red-shirt leaders were willing to hold a talk but the government must cease fire immediately and pull out troops from besieging Rajprasong.

    He said the government must also stop calling protesters as terrorists.

    He said the talk must be mediated by the UN.

  14. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


  15. Sunday May 15 10 am
    A news reporter saw a woman shot at her head at 10 am Sunday while observing the protest in front of the Bon Kai community near the Rama IV expressway.

    The situation at the Bon Kai area remained very tense as protesters set a huge fire in the middle of the road using several tyres. They piled up tyres on at the Rama IV-Wireless Intersection and set fire to the tyres, causing thick smoke in the area

  16. Bangkok Saturday May 15 11:45 PM

    After a day of incidents, shootings and bombings around the city, this afternoon the Prime Mister was reported as saying that there is no turning back. Escalation is now worse as the protesters have dug in.

    Late tonight the army intensified its thrust to seal of all the area around Lumpini and contain the troubles.

    Close to the Bumrungrad International Hospital in Sukhumvit the Thai army was out in force there too. I could see them from my apartment clustered in dark positions that were none the less ominous. I venture out for a moment, but when I saw their dominant presence I returned indoors. it was clearly not a good place in the street.

    Also positioned in the side streets, some even took up a position inside the grounds of an apartment building near where I live. From my high window I could see them.

  17. At 5:35 today Saturday, from my apartment in Sukhumvit, I heard what sounded like a bomb explode. Minutes later local news reports said it was an M79 grenade fired at a police flat in the Lumpini area. It injured three women and a policeman. It was roported the grenade landed on the fourth floor of the flat building.

    Sukhumi Road between Soi 1 thru 19 and Asoke when I went out for dinner about 7PM had soldiers and heavy army equipment highly present and the access passage under the freeway from Sukhumvit to Ploenchit Road, going west was completely blocked off. The skytrain which closed at 4PM had army personnel at entrances. I presume this is to limit unauthorised entry and the potential for lofty access for people who may do something to cause harm to others.

    What someone said looked like razor wire has also been dumped on the central medium strip near Sukhumvit 7 clearly in readiness to limit trouble if needed. It was quite unsettling there and with tensions mounting.

    I am now inside for a quite night at home and what seem a very good choice.

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