Updated: Explosions at Silom

22 04 2010

This a post began as a running report on bombings on Silom Road on the evening of 22 April 2010. PPT has now edited it to be more of a regular post.

At around 8 p.m., there were explosions on Silom Road, near the intersection with Rama IV road, where a small group of so-called multi-clor demonstrators had gathered to hurl abuse and objects at red shirt demonstrators, barricaded behind bamboo and tires across the intersection. Soldiers and police were in attendance. Soon after, the first media reports began (here and here).

Initially the reports were of 2-4 explosions and a few minor injuries. The reports placed the explosions in the Silom area near the skytrain station (BTS) at Saladaeng although there were several reports saying near CP Tower, further up Silom. As each report came out, the injury toll went up (TAN said 20 injured; other international sources had 50 were injured; an updated AP report said 1 killed and 50 injured, citing government accounts; Reuters was soon saying 75 injured and 1 dead).

The Nation (above) said that the explosions were grenades fired from M-79 grenade launchers and were “near” the anti-red shirt group.  As might be expected, the explosions caused some panic. The Bangkok Post was soon reporting that the explosions were more widespread than the BTS station. The number of bombs was unclear (and remains so). The Bangkok Post was reporting up to 6 grenades/bombs near the Dusit Thani Hotel and skytrain station.

A foreign correspondent at the scene emailed PPT a couple of hours after the first bomb, saying that the whole scene and events remain “murky.” So murky was it that The Nation reported the arrest of 5 suspects, 4 of them arrested at the nearby Robinson Department Store.Soon it was reported (see Bangkok Post) that these suspects were arrested while aiding the injured and 4 of them claimed to be anti-red shirt. The Bangkok Post soon stated that the “suspects” were released: “four were supporters of the multi-coloured group who opposed the red-shirt’s movement. They had digital cameras and video cameras containing footage … of the soldiers working at Silom intersection. One of them – Kitti Keycharoen – was arrested after he took off his shirt and shouted angrily after his friend was wounded from one of the blasts.”

Some  post-blast video was soon available.

Remarkably, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Taugsuban was on television claiming that the grenades were launched from within the red zone, apparently even before the final explosion had occurred. He was also reported as saying “at least” 3 dead, 70-75 injured. Thai media was reporting that some grenades were fired Chulalongkorn Hospital and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was saying that the black-cloaked terrorists of 10 April were now in white.

Al Jazeera has this important comment:  “The army had blamed the red shirts for Thursday’s grenade attacks,even before all five explosions had taken place and Suthep Thaugsuban, the deputy prime minister, went on television to say that the grenades had been fired from an M79 grenade launcher from within the red shirts’ protest area.” Suthep was also contradicted on casualties. The Bangkok Post reported “the Erawan Emergency Centre on Friday morning to one woman confirmed killed and another 86 people  wounded.”

Deputy PM Suthep also vented his frustration with the police for “doing nothing” to stop the standoff between people on Silom and red shirts. This video seems to show police in action, being attacked by the supposed “no color” shirts, and then being blocked by the military.

From Bangkok Post

The Nation said the explosions were separated by up to 1 hour and 45 minutes. The Bangkok Post had a different story with a map (right). The Post implied red shirt prior knowledge of the attack.

On the other side, a report from inside the red zone became available, including comments on the grenades, and more video became available, including disturbing aftermath video here. Al Jazeera video:

Basic things remain unclear. How many explosions were there? What was the timing of the explosions? Where did the bombs come from? On the latter, the Bangkok Administration claims to have evidence that grenades were launched “from the direction of the Lumpini Park into the crowds on Silom Road.” How many deaths and injuries are there? The Erawan Center that reports injuries is usually very reliable on these matters, but there are many different reports.

Update: This video is shot from the red shirt zone and is claimed to be of the grenade attacks.



3 responses

22 04 2010
26 04 2010
Skepticism on M79s « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] on M79s The use of M79s to launch grenades into Silom a few days ago has remained murky. It seems convenient that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban could immediately blame red […]

5 05 2010
Red alert « Blog Archive « shyngashong of piksandpoks

[…] DMC-LX3 2 days after the grenade attack. […]

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