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PAD RELOCATES TO GOVT HOUSE

Just 3 hours to achieve first objective

Approaching from several directions, protesters overcome police resistance



Just 3 hours to achieve first objective

PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY protesters led by Chamlong Srimuang clash with police as they attempt to break through a line of officers in order to gather outside Government House.

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) took three hours to surround Government House yesterday afternoon.

After announcing their victory, a stage was set-up in order to continue their marathon rally in front of Government House.

Police decided to stop blocking the protesters at 3pm by removing the blockade at the Nang Loeng intersection - the last barricade - after many hours of continuous pushing by thousands of protesters.

The PAD rally began about noon at Makkhawan Bridge.

Shortly after gathering, PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang led some 2,000 protesters from Makkhawan Bridge in walking through a police line at Soammanas Temple and heading to Government House.

About 100 policemen at the barrier could not stop the protesters. Chamlong asked the protesters to push through the police line peacefully.

The group finally arrived at the Nang Loeng intersection and confronted anti-riot police, who had eight trucks and barricades blocking the road.

Some of the protesters attacked police with flagpoles, Channel 9 reported. The police fought back, injuring some protesters. The brief fight occurred before the protest leaders asked them to calm down and step back from the front line.

Sondhi Limthongkul and Somkiat Pongpaibul, two other PAD leaders, led other protesters to join Chamlong's group.

By 1pm, the number of protesters at the Nang Loeng intersection had grown to more than 10,000 after the arrival of the Sondhi and Somkiat groups.  The protesters were halted at the intersection by a line of policemen backed by trucks and metal barricades.

Sondhi called on police to step aside to allow the protesters to proceed to Government House, saying the protesters could outnumber them and forcefully remove the barricades.

Meanwhile, another group of some 1,000 protesters led by another PAD leader, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, broke through a police barricade in front of Wat Benjambophit and reached the Chamai Maruchet Bridge in front of Government House at 1pm.

The head of the procession was stopped by another line of police barricades at the Nakhon Pathom-Phitsanulok intersection.

Some protesters broke through the barricades, reaching the final one about 50 metres away from Government House at about 2pm.

They reached Government House from Phitsanulok Road at 2.30pm and occupied the area, causing the police to remove the blockade.

By 3pm, the PAD announced its victory after police lifted all roadblocks, allowing the protesters to march to Government House. They then organised two stages in areas in front of the compound - at the Nang Loeng and Miksakawan intersections.

At 4pm, the protesters decided to merge the stages into one at the Nang Loeng intersection.

The PAD also relocated its stages from the Makkhawan Bridge to join the one at Nang Loeng. About 1,000 police were also withdrawn from the bridge.

All police were also withdrawn from Phitsanulok Road at 5.30pm. They regrouped at the Panitchayakarn intersection on Rama V Road.

By 5.30pm, the number of protesters had grown to about 50,000.


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