I’m looking out my window at central Bangkok. It’s the early evening, darkness has fallen, and people are heading home from work. Taxis cruise by along the road outside my window. People jog around a scenic park. And motorcycle taxi drivers ferry people about. It’s business as usual.
But sporadic violence has erupted in other parts of this massive city, where anti-government protesters and government supporters have begun battling one another.
Don’t miss this video footage from BBC/Thai PBS: “Thai protesters fire on rivals”
IHT: “Shots fired as Thai factions clash at airport”
Protesters blocking the main highway to Bangkok’s old airport Tuesday fired handguns and beat government supporters with metal rods in the capital, injuring six people, according to video footage shown on Thai television.
Thousands of demonstrators elsewhere across the capital kept the Thai government on the run, blocking the entrance to its temporary offices at the airport and massing in front of army headquarters. The clashes came on the second day of what protesters vowed would be their final push to unseat the government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.
On Monday they forced the cancellation of an important session of Parliament and temporarily cut the electricity supply to police headquarters.
TIME: “Viewpoint: Why Thailand’s “Final Showdown” Will Have Plenty of Sequels”
Hollywood, the land of ultimate battles and last stands, doesn’t have a monopoly on dramatic endings. On Nov. 24, thousands of anti-government protesters swarmed Thailand’s parliament in what they called — drumroll please — the “final showdown.”
This was, in fact, one of several self-proclaimed final showdowns by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which has long been intent on erasing from government any influence of billionaire populist Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed as Prime Minister in a 2006 army coup. After surrounding Parliament and forcing lawmakers to abandon their work, the PAD moved on to Bangkok’s old airport, where a VIP lounge now serves as the makeshift headquarters of current Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. A brother-in-law of Thaksin, Somchai was evicted from his real office by the protesters, who have besieged Government House for the past three months.
AP/Washington Post: “Shots fired as contending Thai factions fight”
Thai anti-government demonstrators fired shots at government supporters as the rival sides clashed Thursday afternoon on a major highway in the Thai capital of Bangkok.
The fighting began when government supporters began throwing rocks at a truck carrying members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy as it was returning from Bangkok’s old airport, where the group had been holding a rally.
The airport has served as temporary government headquarters since the alliance occupied the prime minister’s office in late August.
The anti-government group responded by firing slingshots and at least two pistols from their truck, and then gave chase to the attackers, who appeared to number several dozen, according to footage shown on Thai PBS television. The gunmen fired about half a dozen shots.
The men on the truck appeared by their dress _ wearing camouflage clothes and yellow armbands _ to be among the so-called guards working for the alliance, who have earned a reputation for aggressive behavior.