Tuesday, September 2, 2008

State of emergency -Thailand

"Oh.. its raining... I hope it will continue raining heavily till 6 a.m." That was what I had in mind when I woke up this morning. Usually if it rains heavily for a few hours school will be closed. Thanks to the 'below the sea level' area where I am working at. Hmm... guess what,my wish didn't come true.

I was at the teachers' meeting around 6:30 a.m for the daily teachers' meeting when the Principal for Students Admin. announced that there will be no school tomorrow and parents will be asked to 'pick up' their children right after the last class of the day. Wow... one day off?! yeaaaa... wish came true... in different way. (We may have few days off depending of the situation)

This is all due to the state of emergency imposed in Bangkok by H.E the PM of Thailand. Went online & found a few sites and articles commenting on the situation.

State of Emergency

By Veera Prateepchaikul, Bangkok Post

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok on Tuesday morning. It was invoked under the Executive Decree for National Administration under an Emergency Situation. It is to remain in effect until Nov 30.

The order came after serious clashes between protesters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship of Thailand (UDDT) that left at least one person killed and about 40 injured.

Under the prime minister’s order, Army Chief Gen Anupong Paojinda, in his capacity as deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), has been appointed chairman of a committee for enforcement of the state of emergency and First Army commander Lt-Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha and Police Chief Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan his deputies.

The prime minister also issued another order prohibiting assembly of more than five people, publication of news which may cause panic or distort facts affecting law and order, and use of buildings or vehicles as specified by the army chief. People are subject to be moved out of certain areas as ordered by the army chief.

In a related development, army deputy spokesman, said Gen Anupong, chief enforcer of the emergency decree, would hold an urgent meeting of agencies concerned at the Army Headquarters at 10 am.

Those to attend the meeting include Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Kowit Watana, Police Chief Phatcharawat and First Army commander Lt Gen Prayuth.

Clash leaves at least one killed and 40 wounded

Several hundreds of UDDT members moved from Sanam Luang and broke through a police cordon to the intersection at the former army academy. At the time, PAD co-leader Somsak Kosaisuk called at the PAD stage for additional volunteer guards to put up resistance.

The clash between PAD and UDDT members took place 15 minutes after that. The two sides threw water bottles, soda bottles and rocks and used wooden sticks to hit each other in a melee. During the clash, five or six gun shots were heard. Two UDDT members were seriously wounded and rushed to Vajira hospital. No police were seen at the scene during the clash.

After the clash, Sondhi Limthongkul, a PAD leader, went up the stage and said the UDDT had attacked the PAD, causing a large number of wounded. He called for people around Bangkok including Chon Buri and Nakhon Pathom to come for PAD’s help. Mr Sondhi declared a civil war had started and that the protesters must be prepared to fight with everything they had in hands.

At 2am, Pol Gen Patcharawat, the national police chief, and his deputy Pol Gen Jongrak Juthanont, who is acting for the metropolitan police chief, and Metropolitan Police deputy chief Maj-Gen Suchart Muankaew arrived at the scene.

About 500 policemen, each holding only a plastic shield, were then deployed to separate the two sides.

Later at 3am, Pol Maj-Gen Suchart said altogether 22 companies of police had been deployed all over the area to prevent another clash.

The police were later reinforced by four companies of anti-riot soldiers from the First Army.

Dr Peerapong Saichua, deputy director of the Medical Department, said 19 people wounded in the clash, three of them seriously, were admitted to Vajira hospital. One of the seriously wounded identified as Narongsak Kothaisong, 55, died later. He was hit in the head with a hard object.

Three wounded were also admitted to the Bangkok General hospital, five to Ramathibodi hospital, six to Hua Chiew hospital, and one to Mission hospital. Forty ambulances were mobilized from hospitals in Bangkok and nearby provinces to the area.

Pongphet emergency centre reported differently that the protester, a native of Nakhon Ratchasima, who died had a gun shot wound in his chest.

It was latest reported at 5am that altogether 40 people were wounded. Twenty-five were admitted to Vajira, five to Ramathibodi, five to Hua Chiew, one to Mission, two to Bangkok General, one to Rajvithee, and one to Siriraj hospitals. One of the wounded died.

At 3.45am, the situation was still tense. While UDDT members gathered in front of the Army Headquarters, PAD protesters congregated at Makkhawan Rangsan bridge. Between them were anti-riot police and soldiers.

Minor clashes reportedly took place at several spots including at Nang Lerng intersection and in a soi near the Ratchadamnoen boxing stadium. The two sides threw Molotov cocktails at each other.

At the PAD stage, Suriyasai Katasila said in an interview with Thai PBS television station that Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri and Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, alias She Daeng, were sighted among UDDT attackers. Mr Songsak and Maj-Gen Khattiya, however, said they were at the scene to observe the situation.


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