วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 22 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2553
Anti-Red demonstrators, Red Shirts skirmish in capital
BANGKOK, April 22 (TNA) - Projectiles -- rocks and marbles, launched from schoolboy slingshots and homemade rockets --streaked across Bangkok's Saladaeng intersection as the Thai capital's Silom Road local business community and the so-called 'Multi-Coloured Group' skirmished with anti-government 'Red Shirt' activists at Saladaeng intersection outside the Dusit Thani Hotel late Wednesday night.
Homemade rockets flew from the Red Shirts Verbal abuse and beer bottles filled the short space between the two sides, accompanied by much verbal abuse.
The anti-red shirt group frustration erupted after Red Shirt protesters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) had encamped at Ratchaprasong since April 3, causing trouble to the public, and when they extended their demonstration setting up a barricade opposite the intersection of Silom with Rama IV and Rajdamri roads, Saladaeng intersection, a prime business area of Bangkok.
The UDD earlier threatened to rally in Silom Road, leading the government to respond with heavy security by troops and police to prevent the Red Shirt protest from entering Silom.
The multi-coloreds had earlier erected a stage in front of Central Silom Complex Department Store urging the public to join force in their move to press the Red Shirts to end their protest at Ratchaprasong and oppose the House dissolution demanded by the Red Shirt.
Leaders of the multi-colored group urged businesses abd residents in the Silom area to boycott the Red Shirts, not sell them goods or allow them to use toilet facilities.
The numbers of Silom people and Multi-Coloured activists had risen to several hundred before midnight and they exchanged abusive words with the UDD activists inside their barricade, built from car tyres and sharpened bamboo staves.
The Multi-Coloured anti-protesters themselves threw beer bottles, glasses and other objects into the Red Shirt protesters, and they also fired slingshots using stones and glass marbles.
The Red Shirts responded with homemade rockets, and some skirmishers left the protection of their barricade to come to the street to challenge the Silom community and Multi-Coloured protesters.
Police attempted to separate the two sides, and parked a truck in the middle of the road, but the opposing sides kept on firing slingshots at each other, with a number of people including foreigners reportedly injured in the clashes.
After three hours of skirmishes, the two sides stopped the battle, with the Red Shirts returning to stay inside their barricade while the rival Silom group dispersed.
The Multi-Coloured Group is made up of middle-class Bangkok residents, academics, the business community and members of the social network Facebook. Since Songkran they have marched across Bangkok every evening to show their force in support of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and against the dissolution of Parliament.
In related developments, the Red Shirt protesters in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen still blocked the rail line to Bangkok preventing the departure of flatbed railway freight carriages laden with military vehicles and equipment amid fears that they are destined for use in dispersing the Red Shirt protesters in Bangkok.
The train's 20 railway carriages carried 24 Humvy military vehicles, military trucks and water cannon cars, as well as other military equipment. All the materiel belonged to the 8th Infantry Regiment, located in this northeastern province.
Khon Kaen deputy governor Payat Charnprasert and concerned security officials negotiated with the local Red Shirt leaders, saying that the train is bound for the three restive southern provinces.
The talks had so far failed to persuade the protesters to let the train depart by early Thursday morning.