DEMONSTRATORS began holding a rally at Udom Suk BTS station at 4.14 p.m. today (Oct. 17) with this being one of the points the People’s Party had selected for their protest, Thai Rath newspaper reported.
The rally had initially started at Udom Suk junction but as more people flocked in, the crowd spread out to the BTS station. However, traffic was still able to flow despite the large gathering.
The demonstrators gave a three-finger salute while continuously calling for democracy and the disbanding of the government.
One of their representatives called out to people who share their viewpoint to come out and join them. He added that if there is a move to break up the rally everyone should quickly go away.
It was found that at 4.34 p.m. there were policemen around in this area directing the traffic from Udom Suk junction to Bangna intersection to ensure that vehicles could go through.
At 3.01 p.m. the People’s Party had announced a rally at three station as part of a starburst strategy, Thai Rath newspaper reported.
In issuing the announcement via the Facebook page of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration the announcement told followers they could assemble at any one of three stations most convenient to them, with these being Lat Phrao, Wong Wian Yai and Udom Suk.
Earlier the Joint Directorate of the Severe Emergency Situation announced temporary halting of BTS and MRT train services and likely closure of certain sections of key roads and intersections of the city at 1.46 p.m. p.m. today (Oct. 17) to deal with a planned demonstration by the People’s Party, Sanook.com reported.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Jirasan Kaewsaeng-Ek, the directorate’s deputy head, revealed the following closures:
– BTS Skytrain every station closed from 3 p.m. onwards (latest update from Twitter @BTS_SkyTrain at 3.03 p.m.)
– MRT also all stations closed, both the blue line and the purple line, from 3:30 p.m. onwards (the latest update from Twitter’s @BEM_MRT at 3:30 p.m.)
– Airport Rail Link, only one station, Phaya Thai, is closed.
In terms of traffic disruptions, as police have got information that the demonstrators are going to rally at two main points: Victory Monument and Asoke Intersection, the police are considering the following closures:
– Ratchawithi road (closing entrances to Soi Ratchawithi 9 and Soi Senarak);
– Phayathai road (closing entrances to Soi Yothi and Soi Rang Nam);
– Phaholyothin road (closing the area around Expressway Victory Monument exit).
– Sukhumvit road (closing entrance to Soi Sukhumvit 24 and Nana intersection);
– Ratchada road (closing Ratchada-Rama 4 intersection);
– Asok Montri road (closing Asoke-Phetchaburi intersection).
However, the directorate said these shutdowns have not yet been scheduled and will be decided according to the situation and will be publicized through all channels to the public, but motorists and commuters were advised to avoid these routes after 2.30 p.m.
Top: Demonstration beneath BTS Udom Suk station. Photo: Thai Rath