Day two after the end of the rally and the city is starting coming to terms with the wanton damaged caused during the orgy of arson and destruction that accompanied the dramatic fall of the Ratchaprasong camp. Security is still very tight in Bangkok with the army on the streets and in firm control of many key roads, the still meagre levels of traffic slowed to a trundle as it passes through the many checkpoints in operation. Today I have been examining the damage that has been caused around Victory Monument, and in the Din Daeng area one of the fiercest battlegrounds that erupted into a frenzy during the dying days of the protests as violence spilt out onto the streets around the sprawling city-centre camp, and the heading back to the city centre camp.
The city centre looms into view though. The row of refuse bags strewn across the mouth of Phaya Thai Road between the MBK Center and Bangkok Arts and the Culture Center have been removed by council workers and hundreds more staff, mostly in lurid Day-Glo green T-shirts, along with a phalanx of refuse trucks, yellow JCBs, and water tankers with high pressures hoses, are cleaning up the stretch of Rama I Road up to Henri Dunant Road to allow the the three big Siam malls to prepare to reopen. Further along, a temporary fence has been quickly thrown up around CentralWorld which is broken and silent, as the last wisps of steam float lazily upwards it’s now just a blackened, smashed building with a vast gaping hole in the middle. The army is still moving very cautiously around the camp, and from the Reds abandoned stage onto Ratchadamri Road in the Saladaeng intersection direction the soldiers have just cordoned this off, it’s still not over here. There is another army checkpoint the opposite way, but here movement is free, while just before Khlong San Sabe a 7-Eleven has reopened despite having smashed window and half-empty shelves. Banks and ATMs on Ratchadamri Road remain smashed or burnt and untouched. The Reds fortified tyre barricades at Petchaburi Road are still intact as is the barrier across end of Chit Lom Road as I swing in that direction and head for home as the time is ticking away to tonight’s curfew. Wireless Road too is empty. Petchaburi Road continues to be closed off to through traffic up to the rows of razor wire at Army’s checkpoint under the expressway. The army’s cordon extend another half kilometre further to the junction of Soi Sukumvit 3 and Nikhommakkasan Road.
Elsewhere today news reports suggest Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) leader – and former popular singer – Arisaman Pongruenrong is now reportedly hiding in Khon Kaen, and may have already fled to Cambodia, while, another leader Suporn Attawong has issued an open letter to police saying that he would turn himself in only after the state of emergency was lifted. Of those arrested, 114 Reds Shirts, including 34 members of the UDD, have all been this morning refused bail under emergency act. One of the core leaders, Jatuporn Prompan, however will have to be released as he has immunity as an MP but has been banned from travelling overseas. Meanwhile the bulk of the Red Shirt demonstrators, bussed home en masse by the government yesterday after the demonstration ended, have also begun arriving back in the north east of the country. There has also been uproar this afternoon as the UDD’s leaders were seen in a series of photographs, that have circulated the internet today, to be spending their arrest in what appears to be comfortable surroundings.
Bangkok Aftermath, Day 2: City Centre – 21 May 2010
Title: Bangkok Aftermath, Day 2: City Centre – 21 May 2010