Army and police deploy in Bangkok to seal off protest site

Security forces seal the gate at BTS Chit Lom in Bangkok just before 3pm on Thursday. Photo: Coconuts
Security forces seal the gate at BTS Chit Lom in Bangkok just before 3pm on Thursday. Photo: Coconuts

Army and police checkpoints are going up across downtown Bangkok this afternoon in a bid to prevent protesters from reaching a rally set for 4pm.

Royal Thai Police spokesperson Yingyod Thepjumnong said that the force would coordinate with the army to put them up in order to stop protesters gathering at Ratchaprasong Intersection under the new state emergency imposed on the capital to end three months of anti-government protests.

At 2:50pm, security forces closed entrances to BTS Chit Lom and began pushing out people gathering in the area, including the skywalk over the intersection between stations.

“You’re violating the state of emergency!” police said through a megaphone. “Get out!” people yelled in response.

Yingyod earlier said that anyone gathering at the intersection would receive a warning before the authorities disperse the gathering and arrest those involved. Much as it was for years under the former ruling junta, gatherings of more than four people in public places have been banned since 4am this morning.

Protesters to hold afternoon rally despite arrests, ‘severe’ state of emergency in Bangkok

Police have advised motorists to avoid the area around the intersection where the CentralWorld shopping mall is located.

A number of media outlets have reportedly had their broadcasts interrupted or blocked, including the BBC and Voice TV.

New updates: Police and protesters struggle for control of Ratchaprasong Intersection

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has been put in charge of the operation to enforce the state of emergency.  

Early this morning, 22 pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested for violating the decree one day after a dramatic rally saw thousands march on the Government House. Protest leaders Arnon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul face additional charges of sedition.

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CITY: BANGKOKCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: POLITICS

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