Red Shirts take over armored vehicles

April 13, 2009 11:42 pm 

By D. Arul Rajoo

BANGKOK, April 12 — Hundreds of anti-government Red Shirt protesters have seized two armored vehicles while several major shopping complexes near the famous Rachaprasong intersection were closed due to fear of violence, an eyewitness said.

He said he was stunned to see protesters taking over the vehicles near the Siam Paragon shopping center.

"There were about 500 of them, but later dispersed to other areas and only the police are here now," said the Malaysian expatriate who is working with a Bangkok-based multinational company.

He said the Siam Paragon, Central World and few other shopping malls in the area were closed, while only passengers were allowed into the BTS (light rail train) stations there.

"Many tourists panicked when they saw the Red Shirt people. Some women even cried and tried to get taxis to get out from the area but the traffic was not moving," he said.

Soldiers were deployed to over 50 areas in Bangkok after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency, while the police were said to be preparing to storm the protest site of the Red Shirt protesters near the Government House.

Local media reported that soldiers are currently guarding King Bhumibol Adulyadej's palace, as well as several key ministries. (PNA/Bernama)

DCT/rsm

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