THE REDEM (Restart Democracy) group ended their rally at Sanam Luang at around 7.40 p.m., earlier than the intended 9 p.m., after police advanced to make arrest amid constant noise of firecracker-like blasts, Thai Rath newspaper said this evening (March 20).
Demonstrators were told to urgently leave the area after the police moved from behind a wall of containers to arrest participants with some already apprehended while the media was told to go to the side.
By 7.50 p.m. police had seized the control Ratchadamnoen Nai road while the REDEM protesters had retreated to the foot of Pinklao road. The explosion-like noise continued to the heard from time to time.
One group of protesters announced via an amplifier carried by a tuk-tuk that non-violent protesters should immediately pull back to the Pinklao Bridge side.
A mother and her daughter vending goods in the area were seen holding each other and crying as the blast-like sound continued to be heard.
Prior to the move to round up protesters, four blasts that sounded like firecrackers went off after which police fired water cannons at them.
Protesters hit back by throwing water bottles at the police even as the blast-like sound continued to be heard intermittently.
At 6.30 p.m. the protesters had gathered in front of a double stacked container wall in front of the Supreme Court and then tied ropes on one of the upper containers to pull it down.
At 7.10 p.m. after it was dragged down protesters gathered at that spot and spread out a large white cloth which they flicked from time to time.
At 7.14 p.m. police announced that they would be making arrests and not to come behind the barrier. The protesters turned right towards Sanam Luang and did not go through the breach in the container wall while water cannons were constantly fired.
Reporters said the water from the cannons had a pungent smell.
Scenes from this evening’s demonstration at Sanam Luang. Photos: Thai Rath