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Protesters swarm shopping district

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Bangkok Post

3 Apr 2010



[color:red]Tens of thousands of red-shirt protesters blocked a major intersection in the capital's business centre on Saturday, paralysing traffic and closing shopping malls, as they continued their campaign to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to immediately dissolve the House of Representatives.[/color]


Leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) announced their mobile rally plan in the morning at Phan Fa Bridge, saying they would muster at two locations -- Ratchaprasong intersection and Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road.


The first group of protesters was dispatched to set up a stage at the intersection. A few hours later, thousands of red-shirts converged on the Ratchaprasong area, bringing business and traffic to a halt.


Police from Lumpini Station tried to negotiate with the protesters, asking them to open one lane for traffic but they refused. Traffic around the intersection was totally blocked before noon.


Large shopping malls in the area closed, including Central World, Gaysorn Plaza, Big C, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery.


Pol Maj Gen Piya Utayo, spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said police have received reports that the protesters would stay overnight at the Ratchaprasong intersection.


[color:red]Police would continue to negotiate with the protesters and ask them to withdraw from the area because there are schools and hospitals in the vicinity.[/color] :doah:


[color:red]Red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said this rally coud last for three days.[/color] A House dissolution is the least the government could give the protesters, he said, adding that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had no right to try to negotiate with them to reduce the dissolution time frame to eight months. :susel:


"We cannot let Abhisit rule the country any longer," he told the crowd. "The government has no legitimacy to rule."


The Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) estimated there were 60,000 people taking part in the red-shirt protest in the capital on Saturday, spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said.


He urged the protesters to listen to police and open routes for traffic and pedestrians.


Col Sansern said CAPO had no plan to crackdown on protesters, provided they remain within the law.


In the morning, a group of people who called themselves "Silent Power" gathered at Rama IX Park in Prawet to voice their opposition to the continuing protest.


They distributed stickers saying, "End the protest. We want a peaceful life." Many of them wore pink shirts and waved Thai flags.


They marched from the park to Seri Centre shopping mall and back to the park. They dispersed afterwards.


Authorities have deployed 50,000 soldiers, police and security personnel in the city to maintain law and order under the provisions of the Internal Security Act.



Showing Bangkok people how much they love us!


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Ratchaprasong rally losses 'B300m'?



Businesses stand to lose two or three hundred million baht in revenue today because of the anti-government rally blocking Ratchaprasong intersection, Thanawat Polwichai, director of the Economic and Business Broadcasting Centre at the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce, said on Saturday.


“Ratchaprasong is a key business centre in Bangkok, with several shopping malls and hotels located in the area. The closure of the shopping centres, especially on Saturday and Sunday, would certainly hit their income,†Mr Thanawat said.


He said the red-shirt rally at Ratchaprasong was unlikely to affect the overall outlook for the economy.


“However, if the rally in the business area is prolonged into the Songkran festival, it could result in losses of five to ten billion baht," he said.



Democracy by chaos ...


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UDD to camp at Ratchaprasong



United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship chairman Veera Musikhapong said the red-shirt protesters would spend the night at Ratchaprasong intersection, which they occupied earlier today, blocking all traffic and causing major shopping malls to close.


Other key co-leaders of the UDD at the rally site included Jatuporn Prompan and Natthawut Saikua.



Come on you pro-Reds - say it and get it over. "Yes, BUT THEY DIDN'T SEIZE THE AIRPORT ... blah blah blah"." :barf:





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tulsathit: PM Office Minister Satit: "Rajprasong not place to assemble. Govt trying to negotiate. If fail, legal measures next."

Saturday, April 03, 2010 4:54:48 PM


tulsathit: ARmy spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd: "Rajprasong not place to assemble. We r confident protesters will return the area to us."

Saturday, April 03, 2010 4:56:51 PM


tulsathit: Govt is sounding tougher now.

Saturday, April 03, 2010 4:57:14 PM



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Red-shirts call for sympathy



Business operators in Ratchaprasong area might face some difficulties caused by the anti-government rally, but they should understand that the red-shirts were acting for the benefit of all Thais, UDD co-leader Jatuporn Prompan said from the Ratchaprasong rally stage. :shakehead


“When true democracy returns to the country, it will boost sustainable economic expansion and at that time the business sector will gain the most benefit. We have to suffer a little for a better life in the future,†Mr Jatuporn said on Saturday. :grouphug:


He denied the red-shirts rally had damaged the country’s economy, saying that the economy has been severely damaged since the Sep 1, 2006 military coup. :crazy:


He called on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to immediately dissolve the House of Representatives or face even more intense protests. :boxing:


Central World, Gaysorn Plaza, Siam Discovery and Big C shopping malls in the Ratchaprasong area were reported to have closed.



We're fucking up your city, but Thaksin will kiss it and make it well.

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Don't think they could block that - though they could block entry to it. Haven't heard anything and haven't been over that way.



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Col Sansern said CAPO had no plan to crackdown on protesters, provided they remain within the law.



Just trying to understand: it's legal in Thailand to set up a stage in the middle of a busy intersection and block all the traffic lanes?


It seems a bit weird that they keep saying this.


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Bangkok Post

4 Apr 2010



We're not moving!




The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) Saturday night defied the government's order to vacate the Ratchaprasong intersection at 9pm, raising the prospect of mass arrests under a tough security law.


The Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) last night announced that red shirt demonstrators at the Ratchaprasong intersection had violated the Internal Security Act (ISA).


The announcement was to pave the way for authorities to handle the UDD rally legally.


[color:red]CAPO announced that the Ratchaprasong intersection and adjacent areas had been declared controlled areas under the ISA and the UDD supporters who have occupied the areas were required to move out immediately. If not, they will face a one-year jail term and/or a 20,000 baht fine each, said CAPO spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, who read the announcement on the army-owned Channel 5.[/color]


Demonstrators who leave the areas will not be punished. CAPO will today make the red shirts aware of the order and if they do not move, further steps would be taken.


Thousands of red shirts took over the intersection shortly before midday, blocking traffic and threatening to choke the city's main shopping district, as they upped pressure on the government to dissolve the Lower House.


Their refusal to leave raised speculation that the government might enforce the ISA to crack down on the demonstrators.


CAPO earlier had set a 9pm deadline for red shirt demonstrators to leave.


The UDD marched from their base at the Phan Fa Bridge to the intersection about 11.20am, and refused to budge until the government agreed to step down.


The government sent in negotiators to ask the UDD to leave the area. CAPO said if the talks failed and the crowd still refused to budge by the deadline, police would start making arrests under the act.


Adviser to the Royal Thai Police Pol Gen Phanupong Singhara na Ayutthaya talked to the red shirts for 10 minutes, but said he could not persuade the demonstrators to clear the intersection.


The government first ordered them out before 9pm, but as the deadline passed it said negotiations would continue today.


[color:red]Following the announcement, red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said the demonstrators would not back down.[/color]


[color:red]He urged red shirts in the provinces to surround provincial halls if the government attempted to disperse their peers at the intersection.[/color]


"The decision is yours. When [our] People Channel television station goes blank, that means troops have begun a crackdown.


"The red shirts in the provinces are urged to exercise their judgement and take action," he told the crowd.


[color:red]Tens of thousands of red shirts started camping out at Ratchaprasong intersection about noon. CAPO estimated that the crowd rose to 54,000 people at its peak. The blockade forced shopping centres in the area to close early and paralysed traffic, with several public buses which pass Ratchaprasong intersection cancelling services.[/color]


Pornsil Patchrintanakul, the deputy secretary-general of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said economic losses from the intersection takeover could reach 500 million baht a day. :content:


[color:red]The red shirt leaders vowed to remain at the intersection until the government accepted their demand to dissolve parliament in 15 days.[/color]


[color:blue]They extended an apology to those affected by the intersection blockade and urged sympathy for their plight.[/color] :surprised:


They were also seen paying respect to the Erawan shrine, one of the city's top tourist spots at the intersection.


Earlier, a teenager drove his Porsche into a motorcycle owned by a red shirt supporter near the InterContinental Hotel, provoking crowd anger and forcing police to whisk the teenager away.


He was identified as Thanit Thanakit-amnuay, grandson of prominent businessman and former deputy prime minister Amnuay Viravan.


Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit said the government would send high-level officials, not politicians, to negotiate with the red shirt leaders. He said the government would not use force to disperse the demonstrators and called on members of the public to exercise restraint.


"I am aware that large numbers of people are being affected. The government is not taking their inconvenience or the situation for granted."


[color:red]Mr Abhisit criticised the red shirts' decision to move to the tourism district, saying it went beyond a reasonable exercise of constitutional rights.


He said the mastermind of the rally hoped to manipulate city people to pressure the government and possibly provoke a crackdown. "Please do not do anything that would incite violence."[/color]


He said the people who orchestrated the rally had nothing to lose and did not care if the situation spun out of control.


Some demonstrators also rallied outside state-run NBT television station.




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