Monday, 17 May 2010

Sathorn Road- May 14th

As the army is sealing the area around the protest sites with razor wires and small groups of soldiers across the streets, small but growing groups of motorcyclists are gathering around the army blocks. I drove around and saw similar situations in Rama IV road, Silom, and Sathorn. I stopped in Sathorn, at the entrance of Suan Phlu. The atmosphere is surreal. The normal traffic has transformed into an empty space filled with air of imminent violence, ready to crack open. The motorcyclists i talked to, most of them motortaxi drivers say that “the population is not accepting the actions of the army and government”. Rumors run into the crowd of people being killed and their body being hidden by the army. In front of the Australian Embassy, right in front of the U-turn military in full gear stand in the heat facing the small crowd of motorcycles, most of them motorcycle taxis wearing their vest, that is growing at the entrance of Suan Phlu, horning and shouting to the soldiers from afar. The military side is even more tense that the other one, prohibiting people from taking pictures and shooting videos. They move frantically and keep changing the position of the razor wire while the other soldiers hide, with their weapons pointed at whatever moves close to them. Behind them fighting are going on at the Rama IV intersection, the center of confrontation now, as noise of loud explosions come from the direction of Silom, grenade deflagrating and echoing in the empty streets. The side of the motorcycle grows moment after moment as the action of the military push more people into the streets. This is the perfect recipe for a really nasty ending. Everybody there stands on their motorcycle in the middle of the street watching carefully every movement of the soldiers, ready to react or just cover somewhere. Soi 1 of Sathorn is completely close to the traffic and one motortaxi says the army is shooting rubber bullets at motorcycles between Ngan-Dumplhi and Rama IV. An older motortaxi, sitting inside Suan Plu on his bike, half looking at the situation and half picking up clients who go in the direction of Narathiwat tells me tonight they are going to set on fire buildings all over the city. This is a nightmare for the army now surrounded by the this small but growing crowd of young man mostly that are forming all around this area and growing steadily. In the meanwhile news arrives that another groups of red shirts are gathering in Kloeng Thoei, ready to pull an attack to the army. The situation now looks like concentrical circles of alternating red shirts and army, decreasing in density as you go out, at least for now.

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