Standoff between police and more aggressive protesters near Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok after both sides sprayed each other with coloured substances. Shopping centres and landmark outlets close early.
Thai police have deployed water cannon in central Bangkok in an attempt to control protesters who have come out in force for the third time and are calling for the release of protest leaders arrested in a crackdown on Thursday morning.
Police and demonstrators confronted each other on Friday evening in central Bangkok leading to water being sprayed at protesters and police advances.
Police officers had asked the protesters to disperse, warning them that they were in breach of the current state of severe emergency which limits public gatherings to no more than 5 people.
Police have strict orders from the top
After the crackdown was ordered on Thursday, local police forces are under strict orders to impose and enforce the law.
The Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday night, following the retreat of police forces the same day, issued strict instructions to all officers not to refrain from doing their duty.
Three senior officers were dismissed from the force on Thursday in the aftermath of Wednesday’s events which, at one stage, saw the motorcade of Her Majesty the Queen surrounded by protesters.
Protest leader directed followers to Pathumwan
The latest flashpoint occurred on Friday at Pathumwan intersection in the centre of Bangkok, the location of some of the city’s glitziest and most expensive shopping malls such as Siam Paragon.
As the last remaining protest leader at liberty, Panupong Jadnock, directed the protesters to the area on Friday afternoon, many of the shopping malls including Paragon announced that they were closing early at 5 pm.
Cannon sprayed blue coloured water
This led to an escalating situation there as both sides refused to retreat.
At 6.40 pm some brazen protesters approached police lines shouting ‘Let our friends go’ and sprayed the arrayed officers with blue paint.
This led to the water cannon being deployed from water trucks which are parked in the vicinity. Protesters then tried to resist the onslaught with umbrellas.
The water sprayed at the protesters was, reportedly, coloured blue.
This led to a standoff between the police and the protesters with reports coming in also of a confrontation with police and a demonstration in Chiang Mai.
The protest then ended suddenly on the orders of student leaders and the crowd dispersed peacefully.
Reports of protesters being arrested
Later in the evening, there were unconfirmed reports that the place had made dozens of arrests following the demonstrations and that bail for some of those rounded up had been set at ฿400,000. Police also announced that arrest warrants had been issued for 12 key leaders of the protest.
On Friday night, it was estimated that 2,000 protesters confronted the police at Pathumwan while a larger crowd gathered at last night’s venue of Ratchaprason where 13,500 people are estimated to have participated in a rally that ended peacefully at 10 pm.
We are opening a timeline and live reporting session on the protests accompanied by news reports, bulletins and videos which will be updated as the protest activity progresses.
7.15 pm Friday – Colonel Kritsana Pattanacharoen, a spokesman for the Royal Thai Police said that protesters had fired after the police including chemical water and coloured water. He emphasised that further legal action will follow against all those involved in this evening’s unlawful activities.
7.45 pm Friday – The protesters have begun to withdraw from Pathumwan after their leaders abruptly called a halt to the protest.
8.02 pm Friday – Police have confirmed that arrest warrants have now been issued against 12 leaders associated with the protests on Thursday and Friday after the severe emergency provisions came into force. The warrants have been handed down by Pathumwan Municipal Court. Those named in the warrants include key leader, 23-year-old Panupong Jadnok who led both Thursdays and Friday’s rallies. Warrants have also been issued against Jutathip Sirikan, 22; Shinawatra Chankrachang, 28; Sombat Tongyoi, 52; Attapon Buapad, 30; Wasan Klamtaworn, 48; Nawat Liangwattana, 26; Korakot Saengyenpan, 27; Sirapop Pumpuengput, 20; Pasarawalee Thanakitviboonpol, 25; Natkanon Payakpan, 29 and Tattep Ruengprapaikitseri, 23.
9.20 pm Friday – Pita Limjaroenrat, the Move Foward MP and party leader requested permission for the Royal Thai Police to enter the Pathumwan intersection area to rescue some protesters trapped there. Mr Pita asked the police to cease firing water at protestors with report fo some protesters claiming that the water contained additives that may well be tear gas. This was supported by the sight of police offices wearing tear gas masks.
9.50 pm Friday – There are reports of protesters reporting to Chulalongkorn Hospital but no reports of anyone seriously injured a separate group of protesters gather at various points some followed and confronted by police. A number of MPs from both the Pheu Thai and the Move Foward Party are in the are to assist where confrontations between groups of retreating protesters and police units have occurred.
10.05 pm Friday – The ongoing events in Bangkok are being watched carefully by local Thai media including TV and online media.