| 11.1°C Belfast

Eyewitness report: Dodging bullets in Bangkok

Close

Thai soldiers take up positions across from an anti-government barricade

Thai soldiers take up positions across from an anti-government barricade

David Longstreath

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A soldier stands guard after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A soldier stands guard after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Paula Bronstein

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  A lone red shirt anti-government protester carries her belongings after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A lone red shirt anti-government protester carries her belongings after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Paula Bronstein

A Thai soldier scans the sky as troops move into the main rally site of anti-government red shirt protesters

A Thai soldier scans the sky as troops move into the main rally site of anti-government red shirt protesters

A fire started by red shirt anti-government protesters blazes through the Central World Shopping Mall after Thai military forces dispersed the protesters

A fire started by red shirt anti-government protesters blazes through the Central World Shopping Mall after Thai military forces dispersed the protesters

Thai soldiers rush an anti-government barricade near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

Thai soldiers rush an anti-government barricade near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010.

David Longstreath

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  Scene from the empty redshirt camp after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Scene from the empty redshirt camp after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Paula Bronstein

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  A red shirt anti-government protester sits alone after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed.  (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A red shirt anti-government protester sits alone after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Paula Bronstein

Firemen hose down remaining cinders at the site of a massive arson attack, Thursday, May 20, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Firemen hose down remaining cinders at the site of a massive arson attack, Thursday, May 20, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Wally Santana

An anti-government protestor lies on the ground Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand.  The circumstances of the death were unknown.  The body was left at a protest site which has been the scene of intense nightly gun fire has occurred.

An anti-government protestor lies on the ground Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. The circumstances of the death were unknown. The body was left at a protest site which has been the scene of intense nightly gun fire has occurred.

Sakchai Lalit

Thai soldiers patrol past a burnt toilette truck and pile of garbage in an area formerly held by anti-government protestors Thursday, May 20, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Thai soldiers patrol past a burnt toilette truck and pile of garbage in an area formerly held by anti-government protestors Thursday, May 20, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Apichart Weerawong

An anti-government demonstrator takes off his clothes against Thai soldiers in downtown bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 14, 2010.

An anti-government demonstrator takes off his clothes against Thai soldiers in downtown bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 14, 2010.

Vincent Yu

Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Thai troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appears to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes.

Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Thai troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appears to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes.

Manish Swarup

Journalists lie down and take cover during a gun battle between Thai army and anti-government protesters at Lumpini park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Seven leaders of Thailand's Red Shirt protesters have surrendered to authorities after a deadly army assault on their fortified encampment.

Journalists lie down and take cover during a gun battle between Thai army and anti-government protesters at Lumpini park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Seven leaders of Thailand's Red Shirt protesters have surrendered to authorities after a deadly army assault on their fortified encampment.

Manish Swarup

An injured Thai soldier is carried away near a barricade created by anti-government protesters, Wednesday, May 19, 2010

An injured Thai soldier is carried away near a barricade created by anti-government protesters, Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vincent Yu

The hand of a dead anti-government protestors is seen through red cloth Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Lumpini Park near downtown Bangkok, Thailand.  The circumstances of the death were unknown.  The body was left at a protest site which has been the scene of intense nightly gunfire has occurred.  Thai soldiers continue to move on anti-government demonstrators in a crackdown that seeks to end the two month long standoff.

The hand of a dead anti-government protestors is seen through red cloth Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Lumpini Park near downtown Bangkok, Thailand. The circumstances of the death were unknown. The body was left at a protest site which has been the scene of intense nightly gunfire has occurred. Thai soldiers continue to move on anti-government demonstrators in a crackdown that seeks to end the two month long standoff.

SAKCHAI LALIT

A red shirt anti-government protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces

A red shirt anti-government protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces

Firefighters work to control burning tyres set by Thai anti-government red shirt protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Firefighters work to control burning tyres set by Thai anti-government red shirt protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Athit Perawongmetha

Thai soldiers run behind armored personnel carriers near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010.  (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Thai soldiers run behind armored personnel carriers near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

David Longstreath

Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Thai troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appears to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)

Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Thai troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appears to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)

Manish Swarup

An anti-government barricade is seen moments after being crushed by an armored personnel carrier at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Two Thai armored vehicles have toppled the tire-and-bamboo barricade of an encampment where anti-protesters are holed up in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

An anti-government barricade is seen moments after being crushed by an armored personnel carrier at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Two Thai armored vehicles have toppled the tire-and-bamboo barricade of an encampment where anti-protesters are holed up in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

David Longstreath

An anti-government protesters' barricade is crushed by an armored personnel carrier at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Two Thai armored vehicles have toppled the tire-and-bamboo barricade of an encampment where anti-protesters are holed up in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

An anti-government protesters' barricade is crushed by an armored personnel carrier at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Two Thai armored vehicles have toppled the tire-and-bamboo barricade of an encampment where anti-protesters are holed up in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

David Longstreath

A Thai armoured personnel carrier breaks down a barricade made by Anti-government protesters 'Red Shirt', on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

A Thai armoured personnel carrier breaks down a barricade made by Anti-government protesters 'Red Shirt', on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  A Thai armoured personnel carrier breaks down a barricade made by Anti-government protesters 'Red Shirt', on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Thai armoured personnel carrier breaks down a barricade made by Anti-government protesters 'Red Shirt', on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Smoke rises from burning tyres near a hospital on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Smoke rises from burning tyres near a hospital on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

Anti-government protesters on  Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Anti-government protesters on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Sakchai Lalit

A Thai anti-government red shirt protester hurls a large firecracker over a barricade

A Thai anti-government red shirt protester hurls a large firecracker over a barricade

Getty Images

A Thai anti-government red shirt protester hurls a firecracker over a barricade during clashes on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

A Thai anti-government red shirt protester hurls a firecracker over a barricade during clashes on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Rama 4 Road, a normally busy Bangkok street, is nearly devoid of traffic at rush hour on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai military has blockaded much of central Bangkok and protesters have set up their own barricades in parts on the city.Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Rama 4 Road, a normally busy Bangkok street, is nearly devoid of traffic at rush hour on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai military has blockaded much of central Bangkok and protesters have set up their own barricades in parts on the city.Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

Thai police officers arrive at the edge of Victory Monument intersection to disperse protesters and remove a fire road block, Monday, May 17, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's Red Shirts offered peace talks Monday to end raging street battles in Bangkok as a government deadline demanding the demonstrators vacate a protest zone passed without capitulation. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Thai police officers arrive at the edge of Victory Monument intersection to disperse protesters and remove a fire road block, Monday, May 17, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's Red Shirts offered peace talks Monday to end raging street battles in Bangkok as a government deadline demanding the demonstrators vacate a protest zone passed without capitulation. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Wally Santana

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  A Thai anti-government red shirt protester lets out a sigh as he watches people move tyres to extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: A Thai anti-government red shirt protester lets out a sigh as he watches people move tyres to extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An anti-government red shirt protester holds home made explosives as he stands behind a barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester holds home made explosives as he stands behind a barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An anti-government red shirt protester sprints past a barricade during clashes on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester sprints past a barricade during clashes on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An anti-government red shirt protester kicks a tyre down the street to be used to extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester kicks a tyre down the street to be used to extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Thai anti-government red shirt protesters rest near the stage of their main rally site on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Thai anti-government red shirt protesters rest near the stage of their main rally site on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY17: A Red shirt protesters throws a molotov cocktail into flames May 17, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. So far in clashes atleast 260 have been injured and over 37 killed as the  military and the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for two months. There is a state of emergency in effect that spreads to 17 provinces in the country. The Thai army declared certain protest areas where clashes are taking place a "Live Fire Zone".  (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY17: A Red shirt protesters throws a molotov cocktail into flames May 17, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. So far in clashes atleast 260 have been injured and over 37 killed as the military and the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for two months. There is a state of emergency in effect that spreads to 17 provinces in the country. The Thai army declared certain protest areas where clashes are taking place a "Live Fire Zone". (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Paula Bronstein

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An anti-government red shirt protester throws a molotov cocktail on to burning tyres on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester throws a molotov cocktail on to burning tyres on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Firefighters work to control a blaze started by anti-government red shirt protesters on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Firefighters work to control a blaze started by anti-government red shirt protesters on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Firefighters work to control a blaze set by Thai anti-government red shirt protesters on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Firefighters work to control a blaze set by Thai anti-government red shirt protesters on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Paula Bronstein

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  Thai Security forces take cover behind a thai armoured personnel during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take cover behind a thai armoured personnel during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  A Thai armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Thai armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  Thai Security forces take cover behind a thai armoured personnel during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take cover behind a thai armoured personnel during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19:  Thai Security forces take position during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take position during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take position during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take position during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

A red shirt anti-government protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces

A red shirt anti-government protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces

Athit Perawongmetha

An anti-government red shirt protester

An anti-government red shirt protester

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An  anti-government red shirt protester walks past burning tyres on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester walks past burning tyres on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An anti-government red shirt protester runs across burning tires on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester runs across burning tires on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  An anti-government red shirt protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Anti-government red shirt protesters take cover behind a fence on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Anti-government red shirt protesters take cover behind a fence on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Thai anti-government red shirt protesters place more tyres on a fire as they extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Thai anti-government red shirt protesters place more tyres on a fire as they extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  Anti-government red shirt protesters look over a barricade towards a military position as their fellow protesters attempt to return an oil truck to a nearby petrol station on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Anti-government red shirt protesters look over a barricade towards a military position as their fellow protesters attempt to return an oil truck to a nearby petrol station on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18:  A Thai anti-government red shirt protester wears a Buddha amulet while manning a barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: A Thai anti-government red shirt protester wears a Buddha amulet while manning a barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

/

Thai soldiers take up positions across from an anti-government barricade

People lay flat, terrified, crouched behind cars, tried to squeeze themselvesinto the meagre protection offered by the wheel hubs. There was nothing for us to do but take cover, as the incoming fire sprayed and hissed.

They took cover frantically, diving behind not just cars, but trucks, trees and even flower pots.



This was near to the entrance of a Buddhist temple, a supposed oasis, a place of prayer. But we knew its sanctity had been fatally breached when the crack of rifles and the sound of bullets ricocheted close to the temple's souvenir shop.



One after the other, the injured were carried, rushed and dragged inside the temple compound. On bamboo mats, blankets anything to hand, they were carried in bloodied and screaming. Fearless Red Shirt volunteers did what they could. They used towels, bandages and plasters to try to treat ugly bullet wounds that needed surgery, not first aid kits.

The sign outside the temple says "apayatan" a word indicating that here in the centre of Bangkok is a safe zone – a haven. Yesterday afternoon, as buildings across the Thai capital blazed, thick black smoke billowing into the air, the streets outside the revered, 15O-year-old Buddhist compound had been transformed into an ugly, lethal battle zone from which no one could leave.



Of those killed yesterday, several died directly outside the temple – and many, many more wounded. Those sheltering inside the temple were just as vulnerable. In one of the compound's buildings, seven bodies were laid out on the floor.



Early yesterday, thousands of Red Shirt protesters fled the intersection that they had occupied for more than two months after government troops finally forced their way into the barricaded encampment and the protest leaders told them it "was all over". They moved to occupy the sprawling temple area, at the centre of which sits a series of gold-edged buildings. The mood was tense and anxious, but people believed – or so they prayed and hoped – that the troops would not turn their temple into a place of violence.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required



"After the leadership told us to go home, we came here. They told us it was all over," said one of the Red Shirts, a woman who had taken shelter within the compound. Another woman, Malee Ngaun Sanga, added: "As long as I have lived here I have never seen any government so evil."



And then things rapidly changed. From the west, we could hear loud firing as troops advanced towards the temple area. Some reporters who had been outside said that a small number of Red Shirts were firing back with sling-slots, hand guns and petrol bombs. A photographer said he saw a man shot in front of him as he ran away from a line of soldiers, two bullets hitting him in the back and apparently exiting from the chest. The image that photographer had taken did not look good.



Suddenly the firing intensified. The explosions grew louder and appeared to get nearer to us and the crack of weapons became more frequent, their cap-gun noises giving no clue as to their deadly capability.



A bare-chested young man ran in. He had a large, ugly hole in the lower back. Was he struck as he ran or had he already been wounded when he came in? It was too frenetic, too chaotic to be sure. Either way, as soon as they became aware of his injuries, a group of medics ran to his aid, dragging him to what they hoped was safety. The medics turned him over on to his stomach, pressing down with bandages and towels. One woman in particular appeared utterly fearless.



Soon afterwards, another victim was rushed in through the entrance to the temple. He appeared older, frail. It looked as if he had been shot in the shoulder. Once again, the volunteer medics rushed to his help. The man's moans were soft amid the ongoing clatter of gunfire.



That's when I – one of just a handful of journalists still present at the temple – was hit in the outer thigh by what appeared to be several pieces of shrapnel. They later transpired to be large pellets from a shotgun that buried themselves deep – perhaps three inches – into the flesh. Where had this shooting come from? Were soldiers now deliberately firing at journalists or did they simply not care? The medics dived over, pouring cold water on the burning wound and pressing down bandages to stop them. It was effectively just a bad flesh wound but the fragments of lead burned and stung. There were countless people with wounds, but the medics – who had set up a pharmacy and emergency clinic amid the temple's lush, exotic foliage could have done no more.



Precisely which positions the firing was coming from was unclear and why the troops would be shooting so widely, with so little caution, was unclear. Was it coming from snipers or from the regular troops? It seems almost certain it was coming from the troops. And who within the chain of command was ordering troops to fire so recklessly, so close to so many people, the vast overwhelming majority of whom were unarmed, unthreatening and who – as they had been asked by the authorities – had just left their place in the city centre. Had they had an opportunity to leave, safely, then they would have. Everyone recognised this was the end of their struggle, or at least this stage of it. Pressing, vital questions need to be answered by the highest levels.



Last night, the temple, built during the era of King Rama IV when the surrounding area was lakes and canals rather than sky-scrapers and shopping malls, was a cross between a refugee camp and a hospital. As orange-clad monks chanted prayers, people went about the task of trying to find a place to sleep, laying down sleeping mats, trying to arrange something to eat. Most had the most meagre possessions, many washing their single change of clothes every day. The mood was one of anxiety and uncertainty. How long would they have to stay?



The terrible irony was that a well-equipped police hospital – where staff had supposedly been preparing for this day for months in advance – was located just yards from the entrance to the temple. The road outside – now a deadly shooting gallery – was simply too dangerous to cross.



What was incongruous was why the injured could not be moved to safety. Some of the Red Shirts said that hardcore elements were still firing at the troops, who they feared would respond with the heavy weapons which they had been firing all day. With an 8pm curfew imposed and people too petrified to move, there was little option but for us to be laid out on deckchairs, stretchers or mats. Some sat quietly, others moaned. There was a feeling of utter helplessness.



Eventually, after the intervention of the office of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva – the man whom the protesters have been so desperately seeking to remove from office – some sort of ceasefire deal was brokered. Had the injured not included a foreign journalist whose Canadian colleague and translator made furious efforts to get help, would so many, high-level efforts have been made? Perhaps not. Either way, the Red Cross was able to send ambulances in convoy to the temple to take away the most badly injured. They said the injured women and children would be collected later today.



The injured were removed, with priority given to those most badly hurt.



The first to leave was the man shot in the lower back. Next was a man shot in the leg. As he was lifted on the stretcher and carried towards the ambulances, he moaned and cried. He pressed his palms together as if to say a prayer, perhaps both for himself and his country.



A man who had been shot in the thigh and I were taken out in the final two ambulances. That man's name was Narongsak Singmae, he was 49 and from the north-east of the country. As he lay waiting to be taken away to hospital, he said: "I cannot believe they are shooting in a temple."


Top Videos



Privacy