With 3 updates: Armed fortress Silom

19 04 2010

The Bangkok Post (19 April 2010) has some excellent photos at the end of a story on the deployment of “hundreds of troops” in the Silom area. The photos show armed soldiers on a skytrain station that has razor wire protecting it. A soldier in one picture has an M-16 trained on passing traffic. BBC news reports show what looks like thousands of soldiers deployed rather than hundreds.

The Post says this deployment is “raising the stakes in the standoff between the government and red-shirt protesters.”

The ever more banal acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn stated government mantra: “There are several units currently armed to defend themselves from attacks by terrorists who are hiding among the protesters…”. These “personnel had stacked uncoiled barbed [razor] wire at the roadside. Many were seen armed with assault rifles and shotguns…”. Not all were armed in this way. This is the first deployment of troops on the streets since 10 April.

Panitan did appear to play down an imminent action to retake the Rajaprasong area. Red leader “Weng Tojirakarn said protesters will not mobilise to the financial area because they were aware that soldiers would use full force to protect the area.”

From The Nation: remembering the 2006 coup?

The Nation reports “Silom office workers wave national flags greeting Thai soldiers deployed for guard duties as anti-government red shirt protesters camped nearby threatened to march on Silom road, the financial district of central Bangkok on Monday. Thousands of armed soldiers were stationed along the main business street in the heart of the capital’s financial district…”.

Update 1: The Nation also included this picture (above) at its website. Eerily reminiscent of photos taken in 2006 following the so-called good coup. Then the middle class and business class came out in their hundreds to welcome the same military they had opposed in 1992.

Update 2: Video of the deployment of troops to Silom here.

Update 3: Grant Peck at AP has a useful report on the military’s occupation of the Silom area. Soldiers, razor wire, weapons, patrolling bars, and astonished tourists.

Interestingly, not reported in the Thai press (that we have seen, the article states that there was a “a tense face-off [with red shirts] early Monday, [and] the troops pulled back almost halfway down the road’s 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) length to protect a key target of the protesters, the headquarters of the Bangkok Bank, which was barricaded by razor wire.”



One response

21 04 2010
A blood-letting seems inevitable « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] blood-letting seems inevitable Yesterday we posted on Silom occupied. There have been some great photos of this action by the government and military have come together […]

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