Dozens of troops waited in alleyways before dawn preparing to make a move toward the protesters. The government had warned the Red Shirts on Monday to get out by 3 p.m. local time.
On Monday the crackdown never surfaced. Then a glimmer of hope: The streets were relatively quiet as talk of negotiations surfaced on Tuesday, giving weary Bangkok residents a bit of hope this would be resolved soon and peacefully.
That didn't happen.
And then on Wednesday at first light came a flurry of activity. Soldiers moved on the streets, weapons in hand. Some hid behind trees, while others crouched crouch in nearby bushes.
Then, in single file, they moved. We watched as they passed the U.S. Embassy, helmets bouncing as they picked up the pace. They ran toward the area where anti-government protesters have created a large encampment for the past six weeks.
A couple hours later came the sound of blasts and rapid gunfire in the center of the city. The protesters have refused to leave and the government wants them out. Armored personnel carriers lurched onto the street. Tanks bashed through some of the barricades made of tires and sharpened bamboo sticks.
The protesters don't budge but the troops don't push all the way in, either. Bangkok waits to see which side will blink first.