17:20 Wayne Hay of Al Jazeera:

Boonlert has just called of the protests, just as the rain started to come down heavily, and with the numbers being small this is not surprising. He said it was necessary to save lives.

Is it really over? Will the protesters really go home?

BBC:

Police have used tear gas against thousands of protesters calling for the overthrow of the prime minister in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

At least 10,000 protesters gathered, demonstrating against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the deposed former prime minister.

The rally was organised by a group who accuse Ms Yingluck of being a puppet of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

At least seven police officers were reported wounded in clashes.

Anti-riot police carrying plastic shields fired tear gas at protesters who tried to climb over concrete and barbed wire barriers blocking entry to the rally site, Bangkok’s Royal Plaza, near the parliament.

The rally was not banned but police blocked demonstrators from accessing some streets near government buildings, says the BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Bangkok.

BP: Protesters are moving closer to the barricades, but now much new news. A reporter from The Nation indicates that the police are readying themselves:

BP: Things have not escalated much in the last hour and we are still waiting to see what happens next.

15:50: The Guardian‘s Kate Hodal from the protest site:

BP: Ominous indeed…

15:15: The Nation quotes Tul (of the multi-colored group, an associated anti-government group) as saying the protesters will take Makkawan Bridge:

Tul, who joined the rally led by Pitak Siam group, came to talk to police at the police line at the bridge at 12:45 pm, asking police stop blocking the road. But police remained guarding the road and their number was reinforced.

Tul told the police that if the number of protesters grew big enough, he would lead them to seize control of the area. Many protesters were still confronting police at the bridge.

The Nation‘s Pravit tweets:

BP: Things continue to escalate slowly…

14:55: Tweets from reporters from The Nation Group:

BP: On TNN, the analyst states that the authorities were trying to stop the protesters from taking over Makkawan Bridge – closer to UN and more importantly Government House – a site that the reds and the yellows have occupied in the past.

14:35: The Nation has Democrat Party reaction to the use of tear gas:

Democrat Party spokesman Chawanon Intharakomalsut condemned the government for having police fire teargases at demonstrators.

Chawanon said the government tried to prevent the people from joining a demonstration although the Pitak Siam announced the rally would be peaceful.

He said the government had police set up checkpoints on all roads to try to block the demonstrators for joining the rally.

The Democrat spokesman said the government must be held responsible for the use of violence and teargas firing against the protesters.

BP: But army using weapons is ok?

14:25 Sunai of Human Rights Watch tweets:

BP: Police seem to be taking a tough line early on by detaining people and using tear gas to prevent the protesters from entering certain areas.

14:15 Video below, as featured on ThaiPBS and elsewhere, of the protesters breaking through the barbed wire barricades and use of tear gas. It is from CCTV footage.

Political analyst Matt Wheeler, at the protests, tweets:

BP: Clashes are likely to continue. It seems for now that the police are not backing down. [UPDATE: Matt has tweeted a correction saying it is Misawakan Junction not Makkawan]

14:05 Bangkok Post has two tweets on more tear gas being used:

BP: ThaiPBS quotes Pitak Siam leaders saying protests will go until tomorrow….

13:45 Expat and prolific tweeter Richard Barrow tweets from the protest site:

BP: Will it cool down the tensions?

13:15 The same reporter from the Spring News TV Channel has posted an additional tweet and photo:

BP: Translation: Metropolitan Police spokesman also provided additional information that the silver bottle tear gas used by the police is from the US, but the origin of the green one [used by the protesters] used by the protesters is not clear.

13:10 A reporter from the Spring News TV Channel:

BP: Translation: Metropolitan Police spokesman stated in a press conference that tear gas was really thrown by protesters and it was a different type than that used by the police; silver is that used by police [assume it is the green one he is stating the protesters used].

The information war begins…

13:00 Nation Channel reporter tweets:

BP: To translate, this morning police expect 70,000 protesters today; now, there are 10,000 at the stage; whereas Pitak Siam estimate 20,000 now at the stage and have the goal of 100,000-200,000.

12:55 Political analyst Matt Wheeler at the rally has tweeted some comments from the stage:

 

BP: Things have heated up very early with the clashes earlier this morning….

WSJ:

In one early incident, police lobbed tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators who attempted to force their way through police lines into a large plaza where thousands of other protesters had gathered instead of passing through a designated entry point.

Police Spokesman Maj. Gen. Piya Utayo told a televised media briefing that five police officers were injured after protesters drove a six-wheel truck into the police lines. He said two of the officers were in a serious condition.

The confrontation started at 7 a.m. as about 500 protesters tried to dismantle police barricades at two points—Saphan Makawan Bridge and the Misakawan intersection, Maj. Gen. Piya said. He described protesters as trying to provoke a confrontation and said police had warned them that tear gas could be deployed. Police have detained about 100 protesters involved in the incident, he added.

DPA:

Police arrested about 100 of the demonstrators who trying to reach the protest site, Mr Piya said.

Parts of Bangkok have been placed under the Internal Security Act since Thursday, in an anticipation of violence during the rally organized by the pro-royalist Pitak Siam movement, led by retired Army General Boonlert Kaewrasit.

“The police overreacted and have now harmed the people,” Mr Boonlert said, addressing a gathering crowd outside Parliament.

Reuters:

Thai police fired tear gas in clashes with hundreds of protesters in Bangkok on Saturday ahead of a rally seeking to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the largest demonstration yet against her administration.

The protest highlights tensions that have been simmering since Yingluck’s Puea Thai party swept to victory in July 2011 and could herald another period of unrest in Thailand.

Anti-riot police wielding plastic shields fired gas canisters at protesters who tried to climb over cement and barbed wire barriers blocking entry to the rally site. Police said “between 300 and 400 protesters” clashed with police.

At least seven police were wounded and up to 132 protesters arrested in the clash near the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok, a stone’s throw away from the main rally site.

….

Police say they have seized various weapons, including knives and bullets, as protesters arrived at the protest area.

BP: More soon.

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