Thai government imposes curfew in parts of Bangkok

Thai authorities on Sunday will announce a curfew in parts of the capital Bangkok after deadly street clashes.

Thai government imposes curfew in parts of Bangkok

Thai authorities on Sunday will announce a curfew in parts of the capital Bangkok after deadly street clashes between troops and anti-government protesters.

The curfew would likely be imposed from Sunday from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in areas near the main protest site, said a government source close to Abhisit.

No one will be allowed in the streets during the curfew, Col. Sunsern Kaewkamnerd of the Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation said in a televised announcement Sunday afternoon.

The public will have until 3 p.m. Monday to leave the area, he said. Men will need to register before leaving, while women and children can leave without registering.

He added that soldiers have been authorized to open fire when armed people approach within a certain distance.

At least eight people were killed on Saturday as Thai security forces declared a "live firing zone" in downtown Bangkok following days of deadly clashes with anti-government protesters.

Saturday's fatality takes the total number of deaths to 25 since a government-backed clampdown on protesters exploded into violence on Thursday. More than 150 people have been wounded, according to emergency officials.

The protesters remain defiant, demanding the resignation of the British-born, Oxford-educated Abhisit, who they accuse of colluding with Thailand's royalist elite and meddling with the judiciary to bring down previous elected governments.

"We cannot retreat now," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on television.

"Live fire zones"

The military has declared certain areas of Bangkok to be "live fire zones", which means security forces will use live ammunition against protesters trying to enter these areas.

On Sunday, a protester was shot in the head by a sniper on Rama IV road on the outskirts of the main protest site.

Hundreds of the red-shirted protesters have gathered on the road in working-class Klong Toey district since Saturday, many suffering gunshot wounds as they confronted nearby troops, hurling petrol bombs, rocks and crude homemade rockets.

They are burning walls of kerosene-soaked tyres to camouflage themselves in the billowing black smoke.

The bloodshed has been largely one-sided, as troops armed with automatic rifles easily dodge projectiles and open fire with automatic weapons. Some protesters have been killed by snipers positioned on the tops of office towers.

Soldiers can shoot if protesters come within 36 metres (120 ft) of army lines, said Kaewkamnerd, adding more soldiers were needed to establish control.

Rain-slicked streets around the city remained tense. Near Victory Monument, where clashes took place on Saturday, a young man walking the street was shot in the head by a sniper's bullet, a Reuters witness said. He did not appear to be a protester.

Hundreds massed in the Klong Toey area, apparently a strategic attempt to distract the army from its main task of clearing protesters from Bangkok's commercial district, a popular tourist and shopping area they have occupied for six weeks.

A night earlier, thousands massed in the Klong Toey area, creating a makeshift stage in what could be a new protest site.

The protesters, who have adopted red as a protest colour and broadly support ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, set fire to vehicles and hurled rocks at troops who set up razor wire across deserted roads on Saturday in the business district.

Red shirt leader Nattawut Saikua told thousands still hunkered down in their main encampment late on Saturday that reinforcements were coming.

"We have been contacted by leaders in several provinces that they will mobilise to help us pressure the government," he said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 16 Mayıs 2010, 20:54
Add Comment