Five were killed, 1 police oifficer and 4 civilians, as a large police force in support of negotiations to reclaim 5 Bangkok rally sites occupied by anti-government protesters was forced to halt operations because of serious violence at Phan Fah. (updated Wednesday)
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Here is the Bangkok Post's Wednesday morning summary of what happened during yesterday's "clean-up" operation. Yesterday's "as-it-happened" report follows with many photos.
Stunned police react after a grenade landed on their position. Casualties could have been worse except for a heroic policeman who kicked the grenade to the side, losing his legs in the process. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
Note: Thai PBS has just reported that the death toll now stands at 5 with 66 injured.
Video shot by Post Photographers; report Nopnan Ariyawongmanee.
4 killed, 64 hurt in city clean-up clash
Four people were killed and more than 60 others injured as clashes between police officers and protesters broke out on Ratchadamnoen Avenue yesterday morning.
The police were met with resistance as they attempted to reclaim the protest site at Phan Fah Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue. Three of the dead were civilians and the other a police officer.
Rescue workers rush a badly injured protester to an ambulance. THITI WANNAMONTHA.
The Ratchadamnoen clashes came after police officers also tried to reclaim the Energy Ministry on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
Two protest leaders and almost 200 demonstrators were arrested as police swooped on the two locations.
The demonstration in front of the Energy Ministry was led by the Energy Reform Network, while the Phan Fah protest was run by the Dhamma Army. Both groups are allies of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the main anti-government movement which is staging the multi-site “Bangkok shutdown” campaign to oust the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra.
The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) previously announced it would reclaim the protest sites this week.
The operation started early in the morning when nine police companies arrived at the Energy Ministry protest site at 7am and asked about 200 protesters to leave the site. The demonstrators refused to leave and more than 140 of them were arrested.
Many arrests were made at the Energy Ministry. PORNPROM STRABHAYA
Two protest leaders, Rawee Mashmadol and Tossapol Kaewtima, and 144 protesters were arrested and detained at Border Patrol Police Command Region 1 in Pathum Thani province.
About two hours after the Energy Ministry operation, 10 companies of riot control police led by Sa Kaeo police chief Yingyos Thepchamnong arrived at Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue to attempt to reclaim Phan Fah Bridge from the Dhamma Army.
Samdin Lertbut, a Dhamma Army leader, said police first asked the protesters to partially open Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue to ease traffic congestion, which the protesters agreed to.
“Later, the officers instructed us to leave the area. The protesters resisted the police’s order by sitting down on the road and praying,” Mr Samdin said.
Police continued to move in and began demolishing their tents and the rally site stage, he said. But the situation deteriorated when a large number of protesters attempted to obstruct the police operation, prompting officers to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at them.
Some protesters resisted when police began demolishing their camp and stage. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
As the police advanced from Ratchadamnoen Klang to Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue, they were targeted by bomb blasts and gunshots, prompting the officers to retreat and call off the dispersal operation.
Pol Maj Gen Yingyos, who led the operation, said the gunshots “came from every direction”. He said it was still unclear who launched the bomb and shooting attacks.
“We were hit by several bombs and I was busy rescuing my men,” he said.
The Erawan Centre reported that four people were killed and 64 people injured in the clash at Phan Fah Bridge. The victims were civilians Supoj Boonrung, 52, and Thanusak Rattanakot, 29, an unidentified man and police officer Pol Snr Sgt Maj Pianchai Parawat, 45.
The Royal Thai Police reported at least 20 police officers were taken to hospital after the clash.
Most of them suffered shrapnel wounds, while two of them sustained gunshot wounds.
The Phan Fa clash took place as PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban led protesters from Pathumwan intersection to “safeguard” Government House from being reclaimed by CMPO.
Tuesday "as it happened"
PDRC leader Suthep Thuagsuban was back on road to Government House this morning, leading a large group of reinforcements to resist any attempt by police to reclaim the area. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUL
The scene in the Government House area late this morning. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD
The police operation at Phan Fah began with officers moving slowly forward. There was pushing but little violence. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
The violence at Phan Fah has left four dead, at least one of them a policeman, and 64 injured according to the latest report.
The incident started near noon as a typical police operation with officers behind shields slowly moving towards and through protesters, many of whom were praying.
The police reached the protest camp and began going through it looking for weapons and tearing down tents.
Four police were injured where their position was hit by a grenade. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
Then, once again, there was a sudden attack by unknown gunmen. Speculation is high that one of the attackers was the so called 'popcorn' gunman seen firing a gun through a corn sack at Laksi intersection on Feb 1, 2014.
This time police returned fire, but the gunmen were able to escape.
After the noon-time violence, police have now left the Phan Fah area.
Reports have just come in that the policeman who was shot in the head has now died. He was from Chonburi. The injure toll has risen to 44, according to the Erawan Medical Centre. (Correction: We know now that he survived. Another policeman was killed, shot in the upper chest.)
There are reports that a compromise agreement was being discussed before the violence broke out at Phan Faa. Protesters were to give up the area between Misakawan intersection and the Makawan bridge. In return, the police would not try to retake the rally site on Pitsanulok road next to Government House. Protest leaders however demanded that the police state this officially in a press conference and that that they promise not to arrest rally leaders. It is not clear if this is still under discussion.
The Phan Fah clearance has turned violent with explosions and apparent gunshots heard. At least 25 have been wounded, including police officers, one of whom was shot in the head.
The highest tension is now at the Phan Fah rally site of the Dhamma Army where many protesters are sitting and praying as the face several companies of police. The police appear to be waiting for orders to move forward. They have removed the barriers between them and the protesters which include monks.
(11:00) Police are now pushing forwards and protesters are pushing back. It appears that many arrests are being made.
Protesters near Government House wait for police to move forward. THITI WANNAMONTHA.
The main focus today is on the Government House area which rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban has vowed to defend. At the moment there is a standoff between a very large police force and a very large group of protesters led by Mr Suthep and several other top PDRC leaders near the Misakawan intersection. Negotiations are taking place but since police are demanding a complete withdrawal from the area, Mr Suthep and leaders from the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) are unlikely to accept.
Meanwhile at the Chaeng Wattana rally site, tension has been lessened somewhat after Luang Pu Buddha Issara agreed to remove some barriers to allow traffic to flow more freely.
A line of women was all that stood between the police and the Energy Ministry compound. Post Today photo.
Police have already had one success. They have retaken the area around the Energy Ministry. The operation involved up to 10 companies of police who moved in when protesters refused to negotiate. There was no resistance and several rally leaders were arrested.
Arrests are made outside the Energy Ministry after police ended the occupation there. PORNPROM STRABHAYA
Police inspect the protester's tents after the rally there was forcibly ended. PORNPROM STRABHAYA
Tears at the end of the rally. ORNPROM STRABHAYA
CMPO: 25,000-man police force to retake 5 rally sites
People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thuagsuban says tomorrow will be the decisive battle against the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra, but today looks likes it going to be very exciting as well.
The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) has assembled a police force of 15,000 officers with another 10,000 in reserve to retake five anti-government rally sites. The sites include the area around Government House, Democracy Monument and Phan Fah bridge, the Energy Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Chaeng Wattana rally site of controversial monk Luang Pu Buddha Issara.
The police are in position and, according to CMPO director Chalerm Yubamrung, the whole operation will be televised on state-run TV channels 9 and 11.
As a result, there has been much early morning activity with protesters strengthening defences and their leaders sending large groups of reinforcements to resist any attempts to drive them out.
Guards at the Interior Ministry rally site have seized two buses and used them to block access to the compound. APICHART JINAKUL
Protesters at the Chaeng Wattana site strengthen their defences this morning.
Mr Chalerm has stressed, however, that today the emphasis will be on negotiations to find a way for the protesters to leave the rally sites peacefully. Since many of the rally leaders have outstanding arrest warrants, the negotiations, if they take place, might have to be by phone, because if they are face-to-face, police would be duty-bound to arrest them.
No one knows what will happen today, so we will be watch events closely as they occur.
advance : to move forward - เคลื่อนไปข้างหน้า
ally : a person who helps and supports somebody who is in a difficult situation, especially a politician - คนหรือประเทศที่อยู่ในกลุ่มเดียวกัน, พันธมิตร
arrest (verb): (of the police) to take someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime - จับกุม
arrest warrant : a document signed by a judge allowing police to arrest someone - หมายจับ
assemble : to bring together and form a group - นำมาร่วมกัน
barrier : a wall, pile of sandbags, etc., that prevents water from entering - สิ่งกีดขวาง
bullet : a small, metal object that is shot from a gun - กระสุนปืน
call off : to stop something that has been arranged from taking place - ยกเลิก
campaign : a planned series of activities - การรณรงค์
caretaker government : a temporary government that is in charge of a country until a new government is elected - รัฐบาลชั่วคราวที่ตั้งขึ้นเพื่อรอการเลือกตั้งครั้งใหม่
casualty (noun): victim; someone/ something that has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a bad event such as a disaster or crime (casualties: the number of dead or injured) - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย; จำนวนคนตายหรือได้รับบาดเจ็บ
civilians (noun): people who are not members of the police or armed forces or government agencies - พลเรือน
clash : a fight between groups of people - การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย
company : a group of soldiers or police that is usually divided into two or more smaller groups - กองร้อย
compound : an area enclosed by a fence or wall, usually in which people work or live - บริเวณ
compromise : a way of solving a problem or ending an argument in which both people or groups accept that they cannot have everything they want - ประนีประนอม
controversial : causing disagreement or disapproval - ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง
death toll : the number of people killed - ยอดผู้เสียชีวิต
decisive : making the final result of a situation completely certain - ซึ่งมีลักษณะชี้ขาด,แน่วแน่,ซึ่งตัดสินใจแล้ว
defences : the particular structures, weapons, and people that are used for protecting a place - การป้องกัน,การต้านการรุกราน
demolish : to completely destroy a building, especially in order to use the land for something else - รื้อ (สิ่งก่อสร้าง), ทำลาย
demonstrators : people who march with other people in public to show that they support or oppose something - ผู้ชุมนุมประท้วง
detained : kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
deteriorated : became worse - ทรุดโทรม, เสื่อมโทรม, เลวลง, ชำรุด
dispersal : (of a crowd of people) the process of causing to separate and leave in different directions - การสลายฝูงชน
duty-bound : required by your job or assignment - ขอบข่ายหน้าที่หรืองานที่ได้รับมอบหมาย
emphasis : special importance or attention that is given to one thing in particular - การเน้นย้ำ
forcibly (adv): in a way that involves the use of physical force - อย่างที่เกี่ยวข้องกับการใช้แรงหรือกำลัง
grenade : a small bomb that someone throws or fires from a gun - ลูกระเบิดเล็ก
heroic : showing great determination to succeed or to achieve something, especially something difficult - อย่างกล้าหาญ
incident : something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
instruct (verb): to tell somebody to do something, especially in a formal or official way - สั่ง
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
location : where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
maintain : to keep - รักษา
meanwhile : at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
monument (noun): a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
movement (noun): a group of people who share the same aim and work together to achieve it - การเคลื่อนไหวเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์ทางการเมือง
negotiate : to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way - เจรจาต่อรอง
negotiations : formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement - การเจรจาต่อรอง
network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
obstruct : to make it difficult for something to happen or for someone or something to go somewhere - ขวางทาง
occupation : the action of going into a place and taking control away from the people or government there - การยึดครอง
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
oust : to force to leave a position of power - ขับออกจากอำนาจ
outstanding : not yet paid, done, solved, etc - ค้าง
partially : in part, but not completely - บางส่วน
PDRC (noun): 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
prompt : to cause someone to take action - กระตุ้น
rally : a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม
react : to change or behave in a particular way as a result of or in response to something - เกิดปฏิกิริยา
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
refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
reinforcements (noun): extra police officers, soldiers or people who go to help an existing group - การระดมกำลัง
rescue worker : a person who save someone from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ผู้ช่วยชีวิต
reserve : something currently not being used but that can be used when needed - สำรองไว้
resist : to oppose or fight against someone or something - ต้านทาน, ต้าน, ขัดขวาง,
resistance : a refusal to accept something or allow it to happen - การต่อต้าน, การขัดขืน
retreat : to move back or away - ถอยกลับ
riot control police (noun): police who are trained to deal with violent groups of people - ตำรวจปราบจราจล
sack : a large strong bag for storing and carrying things - กระสอบ, ถุงขนาดใหญ่
safeguard : to protect something/somebody from loss, harm or damage; to keep something/somebody safe - ป้องกัน, ปกป้อง, คุ้มครอง, อารักขา
seize (verb): to take something using force - ยึด, จับกุม
shield : an object that police officers carry in order to protect themselves - เกราะ
shrapnel (noun): small pieces of metal that fly out of a bomb or bullet when it explodes - สะเก็ดระเบิด, เศษ กระสุนดาวกระจาย,กระสุนลูกแตก,เศษกระสุน
site : a place where something is located - สถานที่
speculation : ideas or discussion about why something has happened or what might happen - คาดการณ์ ประเมิณสถานการณ์
stage : to organise an event or activity - จัด
standoff : a disagreement or fight in which neither opponent can do anything to win or achieve their aim; a stalemate - สถานการณ์ที่ต่างเอาชนะกันไม่ได้
state : government - รัฐบาล
state : to formally write or say something, especially in a careful and clear way - บอกกล่าว, แถลง, กล่าว
stress : to emphasise something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain why something is important - เน้น
stunned : very shocked or surprised - มึน, ตกตะลึง, งงงัน
sustain : to experience, injury, damage, loss, etc. - ประสบกับ (ความสูญเสีย การเจ็บป่วย)
swoop : (1) to make a sudden attack on a place or group of people in order to surround and catch them - โจมตีอย่างรวดเร็ว or (2) to move quickly down from the air, usually to make an attack. โฉบลงอย่างรวดเร็ว
target : to deliberately try to attack someone or something - ตั้งเป็นเป้าหมาย
tear gas : a gas used by some police and armed forces to control crowds of people. It hurts the eyes and makes them produce tears - ก๊าซน้ำตา
tension : the feeling caused by a lack of trust between people, groups or countries - ความตึงเครียด
violence : physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย
violent : involving or caused by physical force that is intended to hurt or kill somebody - รุนแรง, ร้ายแรง, สาหัส
vow : to make a formal and serious promise to do something or to promise what you say is true - สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
withdrawal (noun): moving away from the area where you are; leaving an area - การถอย
wounded : injured, especially where your skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously - บาดเจ็บ