Red shirt protesters moved their demonstrations to the middle of Bangkok’s central business district yesterday (Sat.), shutting down the Rajaprasong intersection.
This is one of the Thai capital’s crucial intersections, where Phloenchit Road (lower Sukhumvit) and Rajadamri Roads bisect one another, and where the Chidlom Skytrain (BTS) station is located.
The Erawan Shrine is is also here, and several high-end shopping malls — such as CentralWorld — are in this area. The malls all seem to be closed, as are several of the elevated walkways.
There are also several embassies within a 15 minute walk, and the commercial and residential real estate surrounding this intersection is some of Bangkok’s most expensive.
Here’s an IHT story about the red shirts’ move to this location, and here’s one from the BBC.
The government gave the protesters a deadline of 9 p.m. Sat. night to leave; the demonstrators refused. It’s unclear what will happen next.
I just got back home from surveying the scene there. Here are some images.
As you’ll see, there are many thousands of red shirt supporters camped out here. There is generally the same positive, up-beat atmosphere that could be found at the reds’ main protest site, on Rajadamnoen Rd. But I was there from about 11 a.m. until 12 p.m., and the heat was intense, so perhaps a little of the enthusiasm was on the wane.
The logistical arrangements were impressive, with trucks blocking key intersections and red shirt “security guards” stationed at the perimeter of the protest site.
You can find a few more images in the full Flickr photoset. I will be blogging more here as events unfold. And as ever, you can follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates.