While the focus of the protests is on Bangkok, there are also reports of red shirt activities coming from the countryside of Thailand.
Last week red shirts have stopped an army train carrying soldiers and equipment in the northeast province Khon Kaen, suspecting it goes to Bangkok in order to increase the number of troops. The military claims that the train was on the way to the deep south. Ultimately, a compromise was found and some red shirts hopped on the train to see if it was really going to the south.
But that wasn’t the only incident on that day:
In another district of Khon Kaen overnight, hundreds of red-shirted protesters stopped three military buses with soldiers aboard and forced them to return to their base.
And in a third incident nearby, the army said that 200 soldiers were detained by protesters but later released.
“Thai red shirts release army train“, Al Jazeera English, April 22, 2010
Tensions outside of the capital mounted during the weekend again as, fearing a crackdown by the security forces, red shirts have set ups road blocks at various spots outside of Bangkok in order to stop incoming forces.
About 500 km (310 miles) north of Bangkok, hundreds of “red shirts” formed a roadblock in northeastern Udon Thani province and stopped a convoy of 150 police from heading to the capital to strengthen security operations, a local official told Reuters.
They formed another roadblock in Pathum Thani, about 50 kms (30 miles) north of Bangkok, preventing around 200 policemen from entering the city.
Police reinforcements are being brought into the capital to forcibly disperse thousands of protesters occupying some central areas, said red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompang.
“We will try to block every spot we can in a bid to stop killing. We don’t want to see anybody die,” he told Reuters.
“Thai “red shirts” vow to intensify campaign“, Reuters, April 25, 2010
Television footage (I haven’t found them online yet, so any help would be appreciated) has shown how swift and easy the police forces were overrun by the red shirts. One police officer told into the camera that his squad pulled over for a fuel stop and seconds later they were ‘trapped’ by the protesters. No violence has been reported though. Of course these actions by the red shirts are a major inconvenience for the civilians caught in the middle as The Nation has collected some accounts.
Another article over the weekend reports of a grenade attack in Chiang Mai aimed at a police station. No one was injured, only some damage to the building. The article also specifically points out the used weapon was a M-79 grenade launcher, which has been used in dozens of attacks in Bangkok over the last few months including the Silom blasts last Thursday which has killed one person.
It is a well-known fact that many parts of Thailand, particularly the North and Northeast Isaan region, are almost red shirt country and thus are much more capable of organizing roadblocks and such. It has ye to be seen if there will be a surge of rural uproar that will also heat up the mood in the capital.
- New York Times: Rebellious Mood Takes Root in Rural Thailand