CNN is reporting the Thai military is indiscriminately shooting into crowds of red shirt protesters camped out in Bangkok tonight, in the latest round of violence in the Thai capital. Seven red shirt protesters are already dead, with almost 100 more injured.
With women, children and the elderly in the red shirt camps, even though the Thai government came on Thai TV to announce the only shooting was at ‘armed terrorists’ or in self defence, Thais I have spoken to think these acts are unconscionable.
This afternoon, three journalists were shot. One, a Thai, was shot in the leg by the military and a cameraman was also shot in the leg. The other, a Canadian journalist, was shot once then, as he lay in the street, was shot two more times (see CNN website for the video). He is currently in hospital in Bangkok in serious condition, according to the Bangkok Post.
In northern Bangkok, where I live, the streets are far quieter than normal. Worried Thais and foreigners are staying at home, far away from the downtown violence and desperately hoping it doesn’t grow. Businesses are closing early, the sky train stopped running to all stations in the city at 4pm and the underground too was closed.
At Carrefour supermarket this afternoon, normally quiet on Friday afternoons, far more Thais than normal were shopping and carts were piled high with water, milk, bags of rice, vegetables and frozen products.
With worries about what may happen in the city this weekend, and no sign from the government they intend to put an end to this army crackdown any time soon, Thais are making sure they’re fully stocked up with food in case things continue to disintegrate.
Meanwhile, one Thai acquaintance I spoke to by phone who lives near the Rajprasong area said, while standing on his balcony he could hear gun fire and see the occasional light in the sky, likely from the homemade rockets the red shirts are using to defend themselves from the miltary advance.
When I was down at the red shirt protest site at the end of last week I saw the red shirt protesters, who are mostly poor farmers from rural Isaan, beginning to hoard rocks, sticks, bottles and homemade rockets. Not much defense against a military armed with rifles and live ammunition.