Troops clear out rally site on Aksa Road

national May 24, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

Not long after the Army announced its seizure of power at 4.30pm on Thursday, troops started getting the red-shirt crowd on Utthayan (Aksa) Road, to the west of Bangkok, to disperse.

Earlier, just before the soldiers arrived, red-shirt leader Prasit Chaisrisa announced on stage that he wanted the crowds to stay, but not put up a fight against the troops. After that the red-shirt leaders held an urgent, brief meeting, before deciding to “keep on fighting”. 
Later, a series of loud bangs were heard, with some people saying that unknown people had set off firecrackers. It was previously speculated that they were warning shots, but this happened before the troops arrived. 
Upon hearing the loud explosions, many red shirts and members of the media began running away, though several others sat down before soldiers arrived and ordered them to lie down. Some red-shirt protesters were also seen kneeling with their hands behind their heads, depending on the orders given by the soldiers in charge. Members of the media were told to leave the area and were stopped from taking photographs or video clips of the military operation. 
One of the red-shirt leaders, Thanawut Wichaidit, was later heard telling the troops to apprehend the leaders on stage and leave the ordinary protesters alone. 
After a while, everybody was led out of Aksa Road through Buddha Mondhol 3 Road, before the road connecting to the nearby Thawee Watthana district canal was blocked to traffic. 

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