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Reporters stuck in police box during gunfight

Preecha Pohpool

Preecha Pohpool

FROM EYEWITNESS accounts provided by reporters covering the gunfight at the Lak Si intersection on Sunday, gunfire came from both anti- and pro-government supporters.

However, other mysteries remain, like - who were the armed men blending in with both crowds and engaging their rivals, and which bullets from which sides wounded the six victims?

Matichon Daily reporter Chinnawat Phatthayanont said the gunfights started at around 4.30pm, with shots heard from both sides - pro-government red shirts who converged in front of IT Square Building, and members of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) who travelled from the inner city to Lak Si district office to blockade a ballot storage site in the compound.

Both crowds shouted profanities at each other, before they started throwing objects, he said. This took place after the red shirts attacked a sedan driving through their crowd, and three loud bangs followed. "After rocks, wood and steel bars flew between both groups, there came the gunshots, which were heard from all directions, from both the PDRC and the red shirts' sides," he added.

He said gunmen came with PDRC supporters carrying both handguns and assault rifles, and that he later went inside a traffic police box to seek cover. "It's a frightening two-hour ordeal. My life hung on a thin thread, between life and death," he added.

ASTV reporter Jatuphorn Yordsilp said the red shirts initially wanted to go the district office to wait for PDRC supporters, but agreed to return to IT Square building after talks with the police.

He gave similar details to Chinnawat's, and said he and 11 other journalists and four policemen were sheltering in the same traffic box when they heard shots fired overhead.

The shots were from both sides, with automatic salvos coming mainly from the PDRC, he said. It was like suppressing fire to cover the movement of small [PDRC] crowds from where they were sheltering, to a location near the district office already occupied by fellow protesters, Jatuphorn said.

He said two shots fired from the red shirts' side went through glass windows of the police box. "Everyone in the police box was ducking to the floor, listening to shots fired overhead," he added.

Nation Broadcasting Corporation reporter Preecha Pohpool said women and children were shepherded to the district office for their safety, as requested by a company of soldiers posted near the intersection. He said it was like in a war throughout the one-hour firefight. He said both sides exchanged fire aimed at individuals, and reporters were also under fire, not just protesters from both sides.


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