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Protestas expandiéndose al área de Silom

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Escrito por Juergen T Steinmetz

Barricades along the street, barbed wires on side-walks, armed soldiers patrolling and maintaining security in front of shops – this is Silom Road on Wednesday evening.

Barricades along the street, barbed wires on side-walks, armed soldiers patrolling and maintaining security in front of shops – this is Silom Road on Wednesday evening. One of Bangkok’s most popular spots, for both locals and visitors, it increasingly begins to look like an area under siege. Tonight, Red Shirts sit on 2m-high barricades made from bamboo sticks, piles of tires and broken paving stones along Lumpini Park. As they shout slogans, they get replies from a new crowd gathering along Silom Road. The new entrants are carrying banners with pro-government slogans, rising portraits of the King and waiving yellow flags – symbol of the Monarchy. Sporadic fights between red-shirted demonstrators and Bangkok residents took place last night at Silom Road. Violence erupted around 11:30 pm when some pro-government protesters started to throw beer bottles, glasses and other items at the red-shirt protesters who replied by throwing two Molotov cocktails. Both Red Shirts and pro-Monarchy pro-government crowds faced each others around the Dusit Thani Hotel, separated only by the traffic on streets.

La situación parece empeorar: después del cierre de hoteles y centros comerciales en el área de Ratchaprasong, esta noche fue el turno de Silom Complex Plaza para cerrar. El Dusit Thani ahora está custodiado por docenas de policías con equipo antidisturbios, un extraño letrero de bienvenida para los huéspedes que se alojan en el hotel. Según los periódicos, ahora hay 10,000 soldados en la zona de Ratchaprasong / Silom, frente a unos 15,000 a 16,000 manifestantes de camisas rojas. La mayoría de los observadores esperan ahora una ofensiva militar para despejar el área siguiendo la promesa del primer ministro Abhisit Vejjajiva de hacer cumplir la ley y el orden en el país.

Un portavoz del gobierno dijo que las actuales protestas contra el gobierno estaban dejando sin trabajo a más de 60,000 personas, aunque sea temporalmente. Pérdidas financieras estimadas en THB 20 millones (US $ 625,000) por día para las empresas ubicadas en el área de Ratchaprasong.