May 17th, 2010
10:43 AM ET

Bangkok residents: We feel like hostages

Gunshots and explosions ring out. Soldiers, police and army trucks rumble through neighborhoods in the Thai capital; a plane flies overhead. Businesses are shuttered as barbed wire lines the streets.

Such is the reality that some Bangkok residents say they now find themselves in after the authorities began moves last week to evict thousands of anti-government protesters, known as the Red Shirts, from a downtown district.

At least 35 people have died since Thursday, including a key anti-government leader who was wounded by a sniper's bullet last week.

"We cannot really go anywhere outside. We cannot go to the place that we like to go or used to go. We are actually living in a kind of fear, everyday," said Prajya Aura-ek, 25, a manager in charge of sales and marketing at his family's boutique hotel, which is located about three kilometers from the protest camp.

"This morning I went out and walked around the Silom area with my camera, just taking photos ... but did not go far, just 200 meters, because last night there was a soldier who got shot right in front of our street," Aura-ek, who travels to work everyday despite the escalating violence, told CNN by telephone.

"The fact that I have to drive here, you never know what you are going to run into. Are you going to run into a Red Shirt mob? Are you going to run into a police checkpoint or a soldier checkpoint? All the time I am staying at the hotel, you have to be aware of the news the whole time," he said, noting that their hotel had less than 10 percent occupancy - down from a norm of 85 to 90 percent.

Another Bangkok resident, Nanta Tangudtaisak, a 26-year-old business development manager, said she stopped going to work on Thursday since her office was located in an area where the Red Shirts had set up camp the last few months.

"Basically, I haven't gone out for the past four days. I have just been staying inside. Usually during the day, it's pretty calm in this area, there are a lot of soldiers... but at night you can hear a lot of gunshots," said Tangudtaisak, whose family home is near an intersection where the protesters have set up barricades.

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Filed under: Thailand • World
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Jo Diggs

    That is truly sad. I have been to Bangkok a few times. Such a beautiful place.

    http://www.total-anonymity.se.tc

    May 17, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    Thankfully America is not under the ruler-ship of McCain-Palin or this could be occurring here in America. I am troubled however when Govt. forces use Machine Guns for crowd control. Troops in America at Kent State, China's Tiananmen Square, China in Tibet, Greece troops and Thailand troops all seem to have adopted that crime against their own citizens and would likely be held liable in a non-corrupted world court.

    Thailand however appears to have upped the ante by bringing in Govt. snipers on roof tops at night armed with night scopes to shoot the leaders of the protesters in the HEAD under the cover of darkness.

    As more citizens around the world come to realize their life savings and currency is essentially 'worthless' and not based on anything 'solid or tangible' I expect more country's to follow Greece's protests against the Goldman Sach's which bankrupted their country, life savings and economic future into the toilet.

    May 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter J. van Haren

      Please don't beleive everything you hear/read from CNN, BBC and the likes. Just think, what would the goverments of any developed country do in the face of violent, terror based demonstrations in your country? The Thai Government has been (and still is) one of the most patient and sensitive governments in the world.
      Thank you,
      Peter

      May 18, 2010 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Snoopy6

      Hoo, the bad Thai Army:

      PM's secretary general Korbsak Sabhavasu, a main negotiator, earlier said Nuttawut had offered a ceasefire on the condition that the government withdrew the troops and stopped firing at people.

      Nuttawut told Korbsak that if the government agreed to meet his demands, he would remove the red shirts protesters outside the Rajprasong rally site.

      Korbsak said his statement clearly showed he is a core leader of the reds and involved in the terrorist attacks in Bangkok.

      May 18, 2010 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony Gibson

      I have connections in Thailand and know something about this unnecessary protest.
      Have you ever stop to think for a second that if the Thai military had used force, why only less than 100 people died? And about 20 were soldiers? There are snipers among the protesters.
      The General who died - Seh Dang, had either ordered for some people to be killed or killed them himself before. Why would the Thai Army kill him? It would have made the government look bad. You have to research about this complicated issues leading to the protest much more. Read Times, and read Thai newspapers like The Nation, Bangkok Post. Talk to people other than the Red Shirts. Do you wonder why they use the term "Red Shirts" and called their men with weapons "Red Guards"?
      There is no just cause for this protest at all. The poor are poor NOT because of this present goverment but because of previous regimes from the 90's up until 2008.
      TG

      May 18, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Snoopy6

    This article is a joke and biased.

    – Why CNN doesn't ask what Bangkokians think about the reds and their motivation?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Snoopy6

    htt p://www.nationmultimedia.com/specials/nationvdo/showvdo.php?id=2998&cateid=13
    Very interesting and objective

    May 18, 2010 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. vrytix

    Smith in Oregon: Please skip the political talking points. They're not based on reality. No one likes to see excessive force used against innocent people.

    The government and military in Bangkok are hardly using excessive force as many people not interviewed by CNN will testify. Outside the trouble areas, life is going on almost as normal.

    Bangkok is unlike Beijing in 1989 when the Chinese army just used tanks and machine guns to kill or wound non-violent pro-democracy demonstrators in Tien An Men Square.

    If you want to bemoan the death of innocent people, how about commenting on 9/11 or any other terrorist attacks in which many, clearly innocent, men, women and children were killed? And, would you acknowledge that radical Islam was a key reason for these attacks?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wvopnutvzx

    So no problem what the non-stop yiwu massage shift tenebriousness move

    September 22, 2012 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |