It's Valentine's Day, Macha Buccha day and it is also "police crackdown day" as police have begun reclaiming some areas now occupied by protesters.
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We will update the situation as the events occur
This large group of police was seen in the Royal Plaza this morning. They are expected to clear at least one protest site. Post Today photo
After some anxious moments this morning, anti-government protesters seem increasingly confident police will not be able to shut them down. Here evening Valentine's activities have begun at the Pathumwan rally site. PATIPAT JANTHONG
Today has been a day of a large show of force by police in the Ratchadamnoen and Chaeng Wattana areas in the morning, but by evening nothing much has changed. Police have cleared tents and collected weapons and explosives in the Ratchadamnoen area and they have, at least for a while, opened access to Government House from one side, but they do not control the Makhawan Rangsan bridge nor the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) rally site on one side of Government House. Police made no serious attempt to enter the Chaeng Wattana site which is very well defended, reporters at the site say.
Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) director Chalerm Yubamrung says today was just a practice run and the operation to reclaim rally sites will continue tomorrow. Up to 2000 police may be mobilised at Chaeng Wattana alone tomorrow, one high-ranking policeman said. We will be watching.
Part of the large police force involved in today's operation and the "media army" covering it. APICHART JINAKUL
PDRC protesters pay a "visit" to the Metropolitan Police Bureau where they had strong words from CMPO director Chalerm Yubamrung. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
Post Today reports that a rather large group of protesters left the Ministry of Interior today and paid a "visit" to Metropolitian Police Bureau where they ate and rested as speaker after speaker criticised Chalerm Yubamrung, director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), and high-ranking police officers.
Post Today is reporting that police did coordinate with leaders of the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) and the Dhamma Army and it was agreed the area cleared on Ratchadamnoen would stretch from the Misakawan intersection through to Makkhawan Rangsan bridge. The NSPRT main rally site and the Dhamma Army site at Phan Faa would remain intact and that is pretty much what has happened so far. The protesters affected were not part of either group, but were largely an independent group of vocational students.
It is now official. Today is not the day that authorities will try to retake the Chaeng Wattana rally site. Today was merely for negotiations, police say, and tomorrow they will return for Luang Pu Buddha Issara's answer. Thai PBS, at noon, showed a large number of cars that had come to site in support of the monk.
As of noon, this area at the Makhawan Rangsan bridge, had not been retaken by police. THITI WANNAMONTHA
Meanwhile, the police efforts to clear the Makkawan Rangsan bridge area have stalled after an explosion occurred while they will clearlng sandbags. The authorities decided the situation was volatile and they ordered a retreat. Then, a second explosive went off, injuring a reporter. Protesters, said to be an independent group, are now rebuilding defences on the bridge.
Members of the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) are also returning to their base at the Chaimai Maruchet Bridge outside Government House.
Wanye Hay, a reporter for Al Jazeera, has reported that the police have abruptly left the area of the Chaeng Wattana rally site.
Police have reportedly pulled back from the Makkawan bridge. A short time ago, there was an explosion there, (reportedly a giant firecracker or ping pong bomb) which injured two, one a reporter. Other possible police targets this afternoon could be the the Interior Ministry and PTT headquarters on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. Mr Chalerm says he has a surprise planned.
The marchers from the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) who left the Nang Loeng area before police arrived have reached the Ratchaprasong rally site. Their two core leader(s)sNititorn Lamlua and Uthai Yodmanee went on to the main PDRC rally site to meet with Suthep Thuagsuban. They said afterwards that have not given up their Government House rally site and will be returning.
CMPO director Chalerm Yubamrung shows off explosives he said were found in the protest camp in the Ratchadamnoen area this morning. THITI WANNAMONTHA
Caretaker Labour Minister and director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), Chalerm Yubamrung, has been holding a long press conference outside Government House. He just showed a large supply of explosives and weapons allegedly confiscated from the rally sites in the surrounding area.
He has warned all protesters at the various rally sites that they should leave and go home as the police operation will continue. He said the police are fully prepared to take over each site, but the prime minister has cautioned against using violence, so the police will be cautious in their approach, he said.
Protesters at Chaeng Wattana face riot police thought to be planning to clear the rally site. (Photo by Lamphai Intathep)
Video by Apichit Jinakul.
The focus now is on the Chaeng Wattana rally site as police have reportedly been edging forward. They are now reported to be within 50 metres of the protesters who have not abandoned their site as was the case in the Ratchadamnoen area earlier this morning. Police officers questioned by TNN 24 TV said they would stress negotiations over violence. Complicating the situation somewhat, however, is a large group of local residents who want the protesters to leave. The have now been moved behind police lines to prevent clashes.
The one group in the Ratchadamnoen, Government House area confronting police is the Dhamma Army at the Rangsan Makhawan bridge. No violence has been reported. The police are there in very large numbers.
Large numbers of protesters are said to be arriving at the main rally sites in the Sukhumvit area. Clearly, they will not be easy for the police to take if they try.
Bangkok Post photographer Thiti Wannamontha is on the scene in the Ratchadamnoen area as police go through belongings left by the protesters.
Police in the Government House area have met no resistance as most protesters have already moved out. Post Today photo.
Television reporters are commenting on how easy and smooth the police operation in the Ratchadamnoen, Government House has been so far. They are wondering if an agreement was reached with protest leaders last night. There has been no resistance and the protesters have left their sites without taking their belongings. A large group from the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) has marched away down Petchaburi Road to Chitlom. It is not clear if they are headed to Ratchaprasong.
k of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) on the march in the Phetchaburi Road area. Post Today photo
Meanwhile, at the Chaeng Wattana site, a large merit-making ceremony is taking place for Macha Bucha day. Negotiations between Luang Pu Buddha Issara and police have not yet begun.
If you like fresh, FRESH news here are people reporting on twitter from the crackdown area:
@joe_black317 (reports in Thai)
@photo_journ has moved from the Asok rally site to Pathumwan
The first target has been announced as the rally sites in the Ratchadamnoen Nok, Government House area . Police have started to move in on the Misakawan intersection and have announced they will take back the entire area through to Makkhawan Rangsan bridge. The police force is large, well organised and there has been no resistance thus far – except for a group of women shouting at the police force. The first site appears to have been abandoned with only tents remaining. Police are going from tent to tent looking for suspicious items.
It's Valentine's Day, Macha Buccha day and it looks like it will be police crackdown day as police look likely to begin reclaiming areas now occupied by protesters.
The first operation will likely not include the main rally sites where many activities are taking place. A large police contingent has assembled at the Royal Plaza and it is not yet clear where they will go.
The Bangkok Post also reports that police are blocking the Nang Leung intersection and looked set to retake a rally stage from anti-government protesters.
The move came after National Security Council of Thailand’s secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut said on Thursday that police were likely to move to reclaim anti-government protest sites on Friday morning.
The target could be the stage in the area controlled by the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT).
Another large police contingent has been deployed at Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani. Police are preparing to negotiate with the Chaeng Wattana rally leader Luang Pu Buddha Issara so that area can be reopened to normal traffic and work.
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul says he wants government offices to be working normally by this Monday.
abandoned: left and no longer used - ร้าง, ที่ถูกละทิ้ง
abruptly: suddenly and unexpectedly, and often unpleasant - อย่างกะทันหัน
access: to allow entry to a building or place; to be able to get to something - ทำให้เข้าสู่ได้
allegedly: claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven - ที่กล่าวหา
anxious: worried because you think something bad might happen - ที่วิตกกังวล, ที่ร้อนใจ
approach: a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something - การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
assemble: to bring together and form a group - นำมาร่วมกัน
authority: a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
base: a place where an army, a navy, etc. operates from - ฐานทัพ, ฐานที่มั่น
belongings: the things you own - ข้าวของเครื่องใช้
block: to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else - ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
caretaker: in charge for a short time, until a new leader or government is chosen - รักษาการ
caution: to warn; to tell someone about a danger or problem that they need to know about or avoid - เตือน
cautious: careful to avoid danger - ระมัดระวังไม่ให้เกิดขึ้น
clash: a brief fight between two or more people - การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย
complicate: to make something more difficult to deal with, do or understand - ทำให้ยาก, ทำให้ซับซ้อน
confident: certain; having trust in people, plans, or the future - มั่นใจ
confiscated: officially taken away - ถูกยึด
confront: to face, meet or deal with a difficult person, group or situation - เผชิญหน้า
contingent: a group of soldiers, police, vehicles etc from a particular place, forming part of a larger group - คณะ
coordinate: to organise the different parts of a job or plan so that the people involved work together effectively - ประสานงานกัน
core leader(s): the most active or most important members of a group - แกนนำ
crackdown: strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity - การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
defence: protecting somebody/something from attack - การป้องกัน, การต้าน, การ พิทักษ์
deploy: (of police or soldiers) to put in place ready for action - ส่ง (ทหาร, ตำรวจ) ประจำการ
deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
edge: to move or to move something slowly and carefully in a particular direction - เขยิบ, เคลื่อนที่ทีละน้อย
firecracker: a kind of firework that makes a lot of loud noise when it explodes - ประทัด
headquarters: the place where an organisation or company has its main offices - สำนักงานใหญ่ กองบัญชาการ
high-ranking: senior; important - ที่มียศสูง, ที่อยู่ชั้นสูง
independent: not connected with or influenced by something (e.g., not being a member of a political party); not connected with each other - ซึ่งเป็นอิสระ, ไม่ขึ้นกับใคร
injure: to hurt or cause physical harm to a person or animal - ทำให้บาดเจ็บ, ทำร้าย
intact: not harmed, damaged, or lacking any parts as a results of something that has happened - สมบูรณ์ ไม่บุบสลาย
Interior Ministry: the Thai ministry with responsibility over the Royal Thai Police, local administrations, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, land management, issuing national identity cards and public works - กระทรวงมหาดไทย
intersection: a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก
local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
maintain: to keep - รักษา
meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
merely: only; used for emphasising that something is small or unimportant - เพียงเท่านั้น
metropolitan police: the police in responsible for a city - ตำรวจนครบาล
mobilise: (of soldiers, police or other groups of people) to prepare to do something such as fight a war - เตรียมกำลังพร้อมรบ
negotiate: to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way - เจรจาต่อรอง
network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
normal: typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ
occupied: controlled by someone who entered it by force or as a group - ถูกยึดครอง
official: done by people in authority or decided by the government; announced publicly - เป็นทางการ
operation: a planned activity involving a lot of people, especially soldiers or police officers - การปฏิบัติการ
order: a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged - ความเป็นระเบียบเรียบร้อย
PDRC: People's Democratic Reform Committee, an anti-government protest group, headed by Suthep Thuagsuban - กปปส. คณะกรรมการประชาชนเพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลงประเทศไทยให้เป็นประชาธิปไตยที่สมบูรณ์ อันมีพระมหากษัตริย์ทรงเป็นประมุข.
press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง
rally: a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม
reclaim: to take back something that was yours - เรียกกลับคืน, เอากลับ
reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
resident: a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่
resistance: a refusal to accept something or allow it to happen - การต่อต้าน, การขัดขืน
retreat: to move back or away - ถอยกลับ
riot police: police who are trained to deal with violent groups of people - ตำรวจปราบจราจล
site: a place where something is located - สถานที่
stage: a raised area, usually in a theatre, etc. where actors, dancers, speakers etc. perform - เวที
stall: to delay - ทำให้ล่าช้า
stress: to emphasise something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain why something is important - เน้น
surrounding: all around a place - บริเวณรอบๆ
suspicious: making you believe that something is wrong, dangerous or illegal - น่าสงสัย
target: a person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack or deal with - เป้าหมาย
violence: physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย
vocational students: students attending a school which provided the skills necessary for particular jobs - นักเรียนอาชีวศึกษา
volatile: of something that may change suddenly or become more dangerous - ที่ปะทุได้ง่าย
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