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Troops enter Bangkok under cover as crackdown begins

Written By: herbrunbridge - Apr• 28•10

Red shirt guards beneath Siam Square BTS station

The rumored Thai military crackdown against red-shirted UDD dissidents began this afternoon in a pitched battle north of Victory Monument and south of Don Muang airport. Reportedly, Thai troops are using live rounds, and Red shirt UDD fighters have commandeered gas stations and fuel trucks.

Earlier today, troop numbers in Bangkok were surreptitiously increased by deploying them from outlying areas into Bangkok via small, unmarked minivans.  This tactic was a result of red-shirt UDD protesters’ success in blocking troop movements via standard transportation such as train and truck convoys. An estimated hundreds of Thai military personnel were added this morning to the forces in Bangkok. Rumors increasingly persist that a crackdown will occur this afternoon or early this evening.

From the BTS Chitlom to BTS Sala Daeng station, thousands of protesters, mostly Isaan people, have gathered to form what is essentially an Isaan village below the skytrain tracks. Many observers seem to be in agreement that the Isaan protesters, many of whom are women and children, will be used essentially as human shields by the red shirts. One theory suggests that this tactic to sacrifice unprotected people on their own side is indeed a planned one, and intended to engender national and world opinion against the current Thai government, when pictures of dead protesters would be distributed by the world press.

A major thunderstorm is gathering dark clouds over Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection at the moment, accompanying the firefight to the north.

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