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Operation Valentine

Police on Friday attempt to reclaim anti-government rally sites, They choose the day when Buddhists celebrate Maka Bucha Day and people worldwide celebrate Valentine's Day.

12.12pm : STR protesters reclaim from police their rally site at Chamai Maruchet Bridge. 11.40am : Police retreat completely from Chaeng Wattana and Misakawan and Makkawan rally sites.

11.10am : Explosion of what are believed to be firecrackers are heard near Makkawan Bridge. A female protester and a Siam Rath reporter are slightly injured.

10.45am : Police tell protesters that they are going to reclaim space at their Chaeng Wattana rally site. The protest site is led by a monk, Luang Pu Buddha Issara. Columns of police in full-gear police are set up about 100 metres from protesters who sit down and pray. The monk is on the stage, telling protesters to be calm.

10.45am : Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order chief Chalerm Yoobamrung says the centre would have launched crackdown on protesters, had it not been prohibited from doing so by the caretaker prime minister. He says Yingluck Shinawatra asked it not to suppress the protesters for fear of bloodshed. However, he claims the centre will do something in the afternoon to deal with anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee.

9.45am: Bomb squad members and sniffer dogs inspect storage areas near Makkawan Rangsan Bridge and find fertiliser, giant crackers, pingpong bombs and slingshots.

9.40am: Amorn Amornrattananon, SRT spokesman, tells reporters that SRT protesters have already arrived at Rajprasong intersection and will gather at Police headquartes on Pathumwan road. For this reason, police can reclaim areas near Misakawan intersection and Makkawan Rangsan Bridge. "Police can only remove barriers made of sacks of sand. Our protesters are now safe."

9.30am: Scores of police are seen at IT Square shopping mall near the Chaeng Wattana rally site.

9am: Reports say hundreds of police are gathered at Muang Thong Thani. A police negotiation team tries to talk with Luang Pu Buddha Issara, the monk supervising the protests at the Chang Wattana rally site in its attempt to reclaim the area.

8.30am: Yingluck arrives in Ayutthaya province with her son to pay respect at a temple on the occasion of Makha Bucha Day.

Scores turn out at Panuncheong Temple to welcome the caretaker PM and give her moral support as political tensions continue.

8am: Many protesters and people give alms to monks on the occasion of Makha Bucha Day. The event is guarded by rally security guards.

8am: Metropolitan police chief Pol Lt Gen Camronwit Thoopkrajang leads police, commandos and EOD police to inspect areas on Rajdamnoen Nok road and Misakawan intersection. They are seen collecting evidence. Protesters remain at the site.

8am : Student and People Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR)’s leader Nitithorn Lumleu and supporters march to an unknown venue.

7.30am : Police in full riot gear start reclaiming areas near the Democracy Monument through Makawan Rangsan Bridge, which is used as rally site of anti-government protesters, Nation Channel reports. They remove sacks of sands set up as barriers near the bridge. The attempt faces no resistance from the protesters whose numbers are small. The areas are controlled by Student and People Network for Thailand's Reform and Dharma Army.

7.44am: Police withdraw from Nang Lerng Intersection to Ban Phitsanulok

7.30am: Deputy Police Chief Gen Worapong Chewpreecha says police will move to reclaim space from anti-government protesters. He does not say where.

7.10am: Dozens of police trucks and vehicles parked at the Royal Plaza. Police are seen eating as they stand by.

7am: Police and vehicles travel to the Royal Plaza and block Nang Lerng Intersection.

5.50am : Yommarat road is crowded with police.

5.40am : Gunshot-like sound is heard, apparently from inside the Education Ministry’s compound on Rachadamnoen Nok road.

5.20am: Armed police are seen inside the Education Ministry’s premises

5am: Scores of police stand at the entrance of Rama VIII Bridge’s Phra Nakhon side

4.10am : About 80 police vehicles and trucks head to Metropolitan police bureau.


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