From Ratchaprasong News-ALERT: At around 1am, approx. 800 protesters at Ramkamhaeng Uni dispersed when several gunshots were fired at them

Reports are coming in that 800 Red Shirt supporters at Ramkamhaeng University were assaulted by anti-Red Shirts groups, who threw bottles at them. Apparently, the situation escalated as shots were fired at the Red Shirt supporters by unknown assailants. The 800 peaceful Red Shirt supporting students quickly dispersed.

This type of provocation towards unarmed peaceful students will only further escalate the already volatile situation in Bangkok and the rest of the nation. I will update as more information comes in.

Difficult to get on here…

I tried all last night to access News in Bangkok but I kept getting the yellow server reset message. Anyway, the wife and I are heading to the rally today. We are thinking of officially joining the UDD. The organizers are very open to foreigners joining them in their struggle.

I spent last Saturday at the rally and had a really interesting discussion with a Red Shirt supporter. His name was “Tun”. He explained to me that the government propaganda was having no effect outside of Bangkok and that the UDD is signing people up left, right, and center. I did see a constant line of people paying for their ID cards. Tun also told me that the Army and the “Ronin” warriors have had pitched battles outside of Bangkok that have not been reported in the press. Apparently, the military is divided, confused, and terrified of these “Ronin” warriors appearing out of nowhere, inflicting heavy casualties and then slipping back into the general population. It is quite obvious that they are well trained and motivated. What motivates them is the question? Are they a combination of Thai and foreign mercenaries paid to protect the Red Shirts or idealistic Thai warriors motivated to do what they believe is right?

My previous comment about the military being confused and scared is backed up by a sad even in Khorat. From the Prachathai website:

On 1 May, Private Thiwanont Thienthes, 23, was reported dead at his house in Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Dressed in full military uniform, he was found to have hung himself from a tamarind tree in the backyard.

His mother, Wassana, 52, said that he was a recruit attached to the 1st Special Warfare Training Company, Thanarat Camp, in Kaeng Krachan district, Phetchaburi province, and was due to be demobilized on 1 Nov 2010.

Given a week’s leave on 24 April, he returned home, looking normal, and regularly followed news of the red shirts, she said.

However, when he was due to go back to camp, he complained to his mother about his fear of being sent to disperse the demonstration in Bangkok. In the late afternoon of 30 April, he put on his uniform and asked for 400 baht for the bus fare back to camp.

While his mother thought that her son was on his way back to camp, her neighbors found the body hanging from the tree.

The situation does not bode well for the boys in green.

Aljazeera: Thai media trying to twist story

A blog on the Aljazeera website accuses the media of trying to twist the story behind Aljazeera’s video footage of a man in a red bandanna brandishing a gun on April 28. Thai media has been trying to lead viewers to believe that this man in the video may have something to do with the soldier who died that day. It’s been 6 days and the government has yet to conclude the investigation into the death of this soldier.

“Despite the best efforts of various organisations who are trying to twist the story, we did not in any way suggest that the man we filmed with the gun had anything to do with the death of the soldier. We filmed him about an hour before we saw the body of the soldier being carried out.”

Aljazeera mentions their suspicion about a possible staging of this incident when these men intentionally went pass the news crew. It’s interesting that this man with the gun decided to wear a red bandanna even though the red shirts were instructed to drop their colors in order to confuse the security forces. It’s also questionable that this man in the red bandanna just happens to be accompanied by some men in black which fit the government’s descriptions of the  terrorists spotted during the April 10th crackdown.

“He was right in front of us and the three people in our team all saw it with our own eyes. We only saw one man carrying a gun. But he was slinking around the place with several other men. One of whom was dressed completely in black, which immediately raised my suspicion after so many mysterious men in black were spotted during the April 10 violence.”

The blog also criticizes Thai security forces for using average citizens to create a traffic jam to block the protesters. When the security forces started shooting at the red shirts, these citizens were also in the line of fire.

The police and soldiers had more than enough warning that the red shirts were coming down the highway. They were travelling en masse and were easily identifiable. They should have diverted all the other traffic.

Instead, innocent people were sandwiched between the riot police and the red shirts. Many remained in their cars, expecting to be let through the road block eventually. But when the security forces started firing their guns, people were trapped, lying down in their vehicles, trying to avoid being shot while others ran to the relative safety of the side of the road.

This should never have been allowed to happen. They could easily have cleared those people out before the reds arrived.”