Sunday, March 14, 2010

Targeting Abhisit, Red Shirts march on Bangkok military base

This post continues from these previous posts --  most of which have been updated:

    Updated March 16-17:

    Srithanonchai, New Mandala, The "rural hoards" up close
    After the Bangkok Post had kindly called the protestors of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) “red rage” and “rural hordes,” I decided to pay a visit to the protest site on Monday, 15 March 2010. When I arrived at the UN building at around 16:30, a speaker announced that there would be a “people’s war.” However, the number of troops seemed insufficient for this purpose. Surely, the sight of all the people, who had turned much of Rajadamnoen Avenue into a huge market place, was impressive. Moreover, this gathering certainly was a great exercise in political identity building, education, participation, and empowerment. People even lined up with filled-in forms to have their pictures taken for a computerized database of UDD members. But if I had been the prime minister, I would not have been shaken.
    Updated March 15 17:33 in Sydney, 14:00 in Bangkok, 07:00 in London, 03:00 in New York:

    Al Jazeera television reporting live that rural protesters are "swarming" an army base just outside Bangkok where Prime Minister Abhisit was holding out.  Abhist recently departed the base by helicopter.  Word is that he will return to the base, as he is surveying the protests from the air.

    The Red Shirts have demanded that the government meet a 12:00pm deadline to "dissolve parliament."  Failing that, they promise "widespread disruptions," consisting of protests at "several key locations in the capital."   There are at least 7,000 troops in the base.  Most soldiers on the front line at the base are only armed with "riot gear."

    AP reports that Abhisit rejected the protesters' demand on national television.

    Wayne Hay, the Al Jazeera correspondent reports (at 12:00pm BKK from the army base) that speakers have been set up outside the army base, broadcasting songs from the Northeast of Thailand -- where many of the protesters live.  Hay says the protesters don't seem to have any intention of  taking over the base (which would be extremely difficult).

    Let's check out who is live-blogging the protests and what they are seeing.

    John Le Fevre, Photojourn.  Recent tweets (earlier first):
    • Thousands of red-shirt protesters have boarded trucks at the rally site in preparation for moving to Bangkhen (photo right)  
    • Off to join the convoy. 
    • Is on a redshirt truck going 2 the 11th infantry regiment
    • Redshirt onvoy proceeding along Si Ayutthaya. Supportive reception from onlookers. Traffic grid locked on cross roads
    • Thousnds of citizens along Si Ayutthaya encorouging redshirts' convoy
    • Hard 2 estimate figures but at least 10,000  redshirts on the move 
    •  redshirts' trucks now playing protest/battle type tunes. Still attracting wide public support
    Nirmal Ghosh, Straights Times, LIVE blog on Bangkok protests 

     Red shirts are trundling up the road from Victory Monument in strength heading for the 11th Infantry Regiment HQ where the government's "war room" is located, run by PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, DPM Suthep Thaudsuban and army chief gen Anupong Paojinda. . . .
    Rob Newberry, Robin Thailand (on Twitter, most recent first):
    • I am amazed by the support on the street for the red march. Thousands of people cheering the convoy on. 
    • Women on the street yelling "I love Thaksin! I love Thaksin!"
    •  "When Thaksin was here, everybody had money in their pocket." redshirt quote. See previous HT. 
    • redshirt in truck..."Thaksin is the best Prime Minister Thailand has had." 
    •  People in the street passing us food and water as we move down in the red shirts. 
    • "80% of police are red shirt" Quote from woman at the reds' march.
    • Reports indicate red shirts start to cut barbed wire along infantry fence (Can anyone else confirm this?) 
    • Lots of support from people on the street for redshirt march [TL: photo above]
     .Newley Purnell,, Red shirt protests: images from Sun. and Mon.
    Also reporting via twitter (also great photos like the one at right showing the Red Shirts "in front of army complex"):
    • On way to 11th infantry brigade. Red shirts' convoy being greeted by onlookers like victory parade.
    Jodi Ettenberg,  Legalnomad, posting from Twitter (most recent first):
    •  Now a huge dancing party at Kaset intersection, despite the 11th r speech's more serious tone.
    • Traffic completely blocked now at Kaset intersectn. People getting out of their cars to march instead  
    • Redshirts rrive at Kaset intersection, crowd handing water & cheering.[photo right]
    • At Major Ratchada mall now, past Lat Phrao MRT. Thousands in the street supporting the red shirts.
    • Red shirts taking over Lat Phrao in both directions now, tons of support on the streets 'I love you!' they are yelling.
     Siam Report, Siam ReportLive Blog: Red Shirt Rally
     (12:25) Just watched CNN update. Dan Rivers seems to lean towards the yellow position: Thaksin runs the whole movement--the puppet master with the money bags; protesters are there for money not democracy. . .
    (11:15am) tulsathit Just done with a news meeting. A consensus is red protesters have behave really well so far. (SR: Only at the Nation do you get this kind of stuff!)

    (11:07am) TAN_Network INN: Red shirt leaders in Chiang Mai are rallying their supporters to surround City Hall; Khon Kean doing the same
    The Nation, Red shirts march for reply on House Dissolution
    2pm : The red shirts disperse and return to Pan Fah Bridge.

    1.30pm : Nuttawut Saikua, a red shirt leader, announces that a total of three million cc of blood will be taken from one million red shirts tomorrow. If the prime minister still refuses to dissolve the House, the blood will be poured at Democrat Party, the Government House and the PM's residence. 

    1.08pm : red shirts leaders declare that they want to enter the 11th Infantry Regiment where peacekeeping operations commands is located. If their demand is not met, they would storm into the compound. They claim they want to submit a list of demand....
    #redshirt #redmarch #Bangkok  

    Context, commentary from the blogs
    Mong Palatino, Global Voices, Thailand: ‘Reds’ vow a bigger rally today

    Bangkok Dangerous protest map - pinpoints location of army base in BKK

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