LIVE: Thai anti-govt protesters make ‘final push’
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LIVE: Thai anti-govt protesters make ‘final push’

NOTE: For live updates from Monday’s protests and political developments in Thailand please click here. Below are the updates from Sunday, December 1.

The prolonged anti-government protests are targeting Government House and key ministries in what has been declared as the final push to topple the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. That comes after clashes yesterday in which at least four people were killed killed and 54 injured. The situation remains very tense in the capital throughout today with police firing teargas  and rubber bullets to contain protestors and many major retail outlets closed.

We’ll have rolling updates on today’s events and you can also follow Siam Voices head writer Saksith Saiyasombut on Twitter @Saksith

+++All times in local Thai time (GMT+7)+++

10.55pm: And with this we conclude today’s live-blog after 14 hours online. Thanks for following and a good – and most of all safe – night!

 10.50pm: A few selected tweets on Suthep’s recent appearance…

On a more serious note…

This correlates to Prayuth’s “distress” earlier today (see update at 1pm below). The question is now what Prayuth will say (and most importantly do) next?

9.55pm: Protest leader Suthep came out to speak again, claiming that he met with PM Yingluck and army chief Prayuth and told there’d no negotiations, because he regards her government a “illegitimate” anyways. And he set her a new deadline in two days, further delaying “People’s Victory Day”.

8.35pm: Still no sign of PM Yingluck even though it is assured that she’s still around…!

8.33pm: The situation seems to have calmed down at many hotspots, including at the Metropolitan Police HQ, even though protesters are camping nearby tonight.

8.02pm: The situation looks to be relatively calm in Bangkok this evening, but the government camp is taking no chances with the safety of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was represented by Deputy PM Pracha at a press conference earlier this evening:

7.56pm: Some footage here from AFP of the clashes at Government House in Bangkok earlier today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdybEDD3nF8

7.25pm: Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok, accompanied by his fellow Dep-PMs Pongthep, Surapong, Plodprasob and Kittrat, read out a statement saying that the “attempts to seize government buildings and TV stations” were “forceful” and armed incl. “pinpong bombs” and that Suthep’s acts as leader of the protests “could be considered treason”. All government agencies will open as usual, but he also insisting that people should better stay inside between 10pm to 5am – which is NOT a curfew btw.

Still no sign of PM Yingluck…!

6.32pm: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been silent all day every since she was escorted to safety earlier this morning, will address the nation at 7pm, according to her spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi:

5.55pm:

5.50pm:

5.00pm: To summarize Suthep’s speech: Suthep called for (yet another) national strike tomorrow and demanded that all TV channels should stop broadcasting news of the authorities and only the protester’s news from now on. However, he did NOT declared “People’s Victory Day” yet that was supposed to happen today, but Govt House has still not been seized!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghEtQI1ZC7E

4.38pm: Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban begins addressing the nation. Channels 3, 5, 7, 9 are broadcasting Suthep’s announcement after earlier intimidation by protesters. Here are the broad strokes of Suthep’s speech.

4.30pm: Awaiting Suthep’s speech, while he’s waiting for all channels to air him:

4.20pm:

TNN 24 reported at 3:38pm that police at the First Army Division Intersection [แยกพล1, a block northwest of Govt House] has started using rubber bullets to try to fend off advancing protesters.

(Source: The Nation)

+++RECAP 3.50pm+++: Police anti-riot unit dispatched to reclaim Finance Ministry and Govt Complex at Chaeng Wattana. Still ongoing tear gas firing near Govt House. Protesters entered Commerce, Interior Ministry compounds. Protest leader Suthep to make announcement at 5pm, to be carried by most free-TV channels after mob pressure. Airing of tonight’s “The Voice of Thailand” cancelled.

3.40pm: The CAPO has just announced that it will dispatch police riot-control units to the occupied Finance Ministry and Government Complex in Chaeng Wattana in an almost televised announcement – I say “almost” because on NBT the signal suddenly cut to the drawing of the national lottery right before the CAPO announcement was made…

The Centre for Administration for Peace and Order is deploying riot-control police to crack down protesters at the Government Complex and Finance Ministry, the CAPO spokesman announced on TV.

CAPO announces it will begin crackdowns at Government Complex, Finance Ministry“, The Nation, December 1, 2013

Notice the difference in wording.

3.30pm:

3.15pm: The standoff at the barriers continues:

Meanwhile…

The National Broadcasting Service of Thailand (NBT) television station – Channel 11 – has agreed to air statements which may be made by People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban, Thaworn Senneam said.

NBT ‘yes’ to airing Suthep’s message“, Bangkok Post, December 1, 2013

The same reportedly goes for nearly all other free-TV stations that are coerced have negotiated with the protesters, Suthep’s speech is planned at 5pm.

2.42pm: The first students are being escorted out of Ramkamkhaeng University:

2.20pm: The situation near Govt House seems to have calmed down a bit for now. Meanwhile, the protesters claim that all besieged free-TV channels will air a speech by protest leader Suthep later this afternoon.

1.40pm: The Thai army sends unarmed troops to assist Ramkhamhaeng University students who were stranded in campus buildings since last night’s violence.

1.17pm:

1.11pm:

+++RECAP 1.10pm+++: Thousands of anti-govt protesters are spread across Bangkok. TV stations being pressed by mobs to relay protesters’ Blue Sky Channel. Tear gas fired against protesters trying to storm concrete barricade near Government House. At least 2 reported injured at a different incident at the Metropolitan Police HQ. Rumors of PM Yingluck fleeing the country denied.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF6ls9-e90M

1.00pm: Army chief is reportedly “distressed” (ทนไม่ไหว) at the clashes between police and protesters and “ordered” the police to “temporarily cease the firing of tear gas in order for talks” between them…!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKmzufVaYJY

12.39am: The mob’s siege at ThaiPBS has also cause PM Yingluck to cancel a few interviews with foreign media at the Royal Police Sports Club next door:

12.33am: Other rally groups have arrived at the state-owned TV channel NBT and the army-owned Channel 5 and 7

12.08am: Several incidents are taking place at the same time now, where teargas has been fired at the protesters and attempts at removing concrete barriers.

Meanwhile, negotiations at ThaiPBS are ongoing and reports that the channel will indeed relay the protesters’ channel has not been officially confirmed by the channel yet.

11.40am: ThaiPBS is back with ongoing coverage, as mob demands the TV station to cease operations and relay the signal of the protesters’ own Blue Sky Channel.

11.29am: Meanwhile, ThaiPBS is now on an unusually long commercial break now, as protesters have arrived at the stations moments ago and are planning to take over the broadcast.

11.21am: First teargas reported being thrown at Government House:

11.20am:

11.14am: The prime minister’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva (yes, it’s Abhisit’s cousin, but politically on opposite ends) has denied claims by the anti-govt protesters that PM Yingluck is fleeing of the country, saying she’s still in the country and just finished a meeting with the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO):

11.06am: A group of protesters have arrived at ThaiPBS and in a clear sign of contempt to the mainstream media, are planning to take over the station and are demanding the station “to end broadcasting government-fed news”:

11.00am:

10.50am: While we were talking about the protesters’ march on the TV stations to ‘remind’, it bears some irony that two persons here that are going to ‘visit’ to ‘remind’ the mainstream media how they think they should report on the rallies: Democrat politician and now protest co-leader Satit Wongnongtoey was in charge of the state channels MCOT and NBT during his tenure as Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office during the Abhisit administration and used them to counter against Thaksin and the red shirts, also pressured a MCOT radio host to quit after he conducted an interview with Thaksin. Last year, Satit set up a “media monitoring group” targeting media who are “in favor” of the current government, more of his antics can be read here.

Chitapas Bhirombhakdi, often referred to as the “Singha beer heiress” (her father is the executive vice-president of Singha Corporation and a supporter of the Democrat Party), is a politically ambitious young woman, whose election campaign for MP failed in 2011. She remained involved with the Democrat Party and has made her first appearance as Democrat spokeswoman to call for a harder crackdown on anti-monarchy websites, more on this here.

Earlier this week, a mob went the Channel 3 on Monday to complain about the lack of coverage on their campaign and have coerced top anchor Sorayuth Suthassanachinda to blow a whistle, the tool of choice by the anti-government protesters. Also, a former Democrat MP instigated a mob attack on German photo-journalist Nick Nostitz.

10.25am: Protesters are also targeting all free-TV stations of Channel 3, 5, 7, MCOT (formerly 9) and NBT (formerly 11). Channel 5 and 7 are army-owned, while NBT is the state broadcaster. This comes after mobs have besieged the stations earlier this week to ‘remind’ them (how) to report on the rallies. More in a few minutes.

10.19am: The Central Skywalk and the Central World shopping mall are closed today, due its proximity to the National Police Headquarters, while nearby shopping malls like Siam Paragon remain open for now.

9.30am: The anti-government protesters will start targeting most crucial government buildings at 10.45am

8.40am: At the red shirt rally at Rajamangala Stadium, there have been loud bangs reported throughout the night until the early morning – likely firecrackers – and also according to red shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan that five pro-government supporters have been killed, the police has so far confirmed one “found shot dead”. Also in a somewhat surprising move, the leadership announced to end the rally to ease tensions – probably a good call.

2.40am: Soldiers have also been spotted being deployed at Government House, which will be the main target of