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Downtown Bangkok a War Zone – Two Red Shirt Protesters Killed, Two Journalists Injured

Reports and video on Thai television, as well as the BBC and CNN, now show downtown Bangkok, Thailand as a war zone.

Thai military, in an effort to surround anti-government red shirt protesters who have been camped out in downtown Bangkok for almost two months, are now shooting live ammunition and rubber bullets at protesters. Red shirt protesters are responding with grenades, homemade rockets, rocks and sticks.

Since late last night, two red shirt protesters are reported to have been killed, and a Thai and Canadian reporter have both been shot in the leg. Seh Daeng, one of the red shirts military strategists and an army general, was also shot in the head last night and is in a coma at a local hospital. Some speculate he was shot in an assassination attempt by the Thai government. Others speculate he was shot by red shirts themselves, who didn’t like his extremist views.

As it stands at the moment, any travel to Bangkok for any purpose should probably be cancelled,. More than 50 foreign embassies are warning against travel to Thailand and, since this latest violence began, the US, UK, Japanese and Vietnamese embassies, along with many others, have had to close.

The army crackdown, shootings and grenades are centered in the Rajprasong area of Bangkok, an area next to Chidlom and Siam sky train station. Bangkok’s skytrain (monorail system) has been completely shut down and the underground system is only running to a few stations well outside the downtown area.

Most Thais, who work in the downtown area, were told by their companies not to go into work today and, even those who live outside the city center are watching the situation carefully, as it could well spread. Traffic is exceptionally light on Bangkok’s roads with the majority of Thais and foreign residents staying close to home.