The army has now started to seal off the rally site around the Rajaprasong intersection, as workers and residents have been noticed to evacuate the area. Shops have been closed in the afternoon, causing a massive traffic jam on all roads leading to the commercial center of Bangkok. Also, the metro and skytrain stations in the rally site have stopped their service beginning 6 PM local time.
Many troops have been spotted to close in to the rally site and block all roads leading to it. Also, BBC correspondent Alastair Leithead has captured this picture of soldiers entering Lumphini Park.
As of now (14.35h CEST) there have been reports of gun shots and explosions from inside the rally site, following after sounds of firecracker. Red guards are reported to scrambling to some outposts and barricade the entrances.
Al Jazeera and ThaiPBS are reporting that renegade Maj.-Gen. Khattiya Sawasdipol, also known as ‘Seh Daeng’ has been shot and now is in hospital.
The United States Thursday closed its embassy in Bangkok and said it was “very concerned” about the violence between the Thai government and protesters there.
“We’re very concerned, we’re watching it (the violence) very closely,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, adding the US embassy was closed to the public because it is near the trouble.
“US closes embassy in Thailand, ‘very concerned’ about violence“, AFP, May 14, 2010
The British Embassy in Bangkok will close on Friday because of the ongoing security situation in the Thai capital. The Foreign Office said the demonstrations were close to the embassy and they did not want to put people in danger.
It advises against all but essential travel to Bangkok and other areas.
“UK Embassy in Bangkok to shut on Friday due to violence“, May 14, 2010
An anti-government protester was shot and killed Thursday as a tense standoff continued on the streets of Bangkok. Gunfire rang through the streets as the situation became increasingly volatile.
“Thai protester shot, killed during violent clashes with police“, CNN, May 13, 2010
Reports are coming that a(nother) protester has been shot in the head. No confirmation yet.
A Thai military officer suggested Khattiya may have been killed by a rival. He denied that the killing was part of a military operation and said there was no imminent military assault on the site. “We’re just taking the first steps,” he said.
“Thai general shot while aiding red shirt protesters“, by Simon Montlake, Christian Science Monitor, May 13, 2010
2nd CRES announcement: state of emergency in additional 15 provinces (via @TAN_Network)
CNN has obtained footage of ‘Seh Daeng’ shortly after he was shot (warning: graphical content).
CRES has now interrupted all TV channels to announce that no cars are allowed on roads around Rajprasong area including Petchburi, Wireless, Phyathai and Ratchaprarot. Piers from Huachang Bridge to Mitsampan, BTS stations from Ratchadamri, Siam, Chidlom, Ploenchit, MRT stations from Silom to Lumpinee are closed. Mobile signal will be interrupted in 6-hr intervals for May 13 18.00-24.00 in Ratchaprasong area.
From Newley Purnell: “Power cut at Silom corner and all reds behind secondary barrier. Very tense. Yelling and complete darkness.”
ThaiPBS has shown the first footage from what happened at the rally some moments ago. I only saw some fireworks being fired into the air. But there was also sounds of gunfire.
‘Seh Daeng’ is reported to be in ICU, witnesses say his head is wrapped in bandage.
Gen. Khattiya Sawatdiphol, 59, better known as Seh Daeng, was allied with the protesters. He appeared to have taken a single bullet to the head during an interview with The International Herald Tribune.
“Dissident Thai General is Shot; Army Moves to Face Protesters“, New York Times, May 13, 2010
15.11h CEST: Nation Channel has now corrected itself and reports that ‘Seh Daeng’ is NOT dead!
Meanwhile, some reporters on the scene say that the mobile phone connection is off or at least spotty.
Also, Twitter user @Dany_k tweets that the lights have gone off at the Ploen Chit barricade (the east frontline).
15.07h CEST: Nation Channel reports that ‘Seh Daeng’ has died.
14.50h CEST: Reports coming in that ‘Seh Daeng’ has been delivered to Hua Chiew Hospital with a head injury.