Red shirt military advisor wounded in Bangkok

The chief military advisor of Thailand's anti-government protesters was injured in the head, after an explosion and bursts of automatic gunfire were heard near Bangkok's business district today.

Khattiya Sawasdipol, a suspended army specialist in charge of security at an encampment occupied by thousands of "red shirt" demonstrators, was admitted to an intensive care ward after being shot, said the state Narenthorn Emergency Medical Service.



It had no other details.



Khattiya, better known as "Seh Daeng" (Commander Red) enjoys a cult following among some red shirts and soldiers, but has been dubbed a "terrorist" by Thailand's government, which accuses him of involvement in dozens of grenade attacks that have injured more than 100 people.



The army had earlier said it was planning a huge lockdown around the fortified encampment of the red shirts, who have defied warnings to end their five-week occupation of an upmarket Bangkok shopping district.



The Thai military said it would deploy armoured vehicles and shut roads surrounding thousands of defiant protesters on Thursday, forcing businesses to evacuate workers as tensions rise in the deadliest political crisis in two decades.



The army said its armoured vehicles will bolster checkpoints, stopping protesters from entering the area, and urged businesses on roads leading into the protesters' 1.2 square mile fortified encampment to close tomorrow.



Army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said authorities tasked with resolving the crisis will also seek cabinet approval to invoke a state of emergency in 15 northern and northeastern provinces, which are stronghold of protesters to prevent any mobilisation.







The mostly rural and urban poor protesters refused to leave as their leaders challenged the government from behind medieval-like walls made from tyres and wooden staves soaked in kerosene and topped by razor wire.



The government estimated the crowd size at 10,000 but Reuters witnessses put it at more than 20,000.



"We will send out groups to surround these vehicles to prevent them from advancing," Jatuporn Prompan, a protest leader, told supporters. "We believe the army will try to crack down this evening or tomorrow morning."



Companies and embassies across the area told employees to leave work early and activated back-up plans for tomorrow. Several stations in an elevated train system were shutting early. Public transportation was being diverted from the area.



The mood at the protest site turned quickly in the afternoon from festive to tense. Leaders took turns on the stage to call for more protesters to come to the encampment, chanting "come out, come out" and threatening to lay siege to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's house and an infantry barracks where he has taken refuge if there is a crackdown.



Abhisit is under enormous pressure to end the two-month crisis that has killed 29 people, wounded more than 1,000, paralysed parts of Bangkok and slowed growth in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy.



But analysts and an army source close to Army Chief Anupong Paochinda said an immediate crackdown is unlikely despite the threats.



"It's hard to say if or when the crackdown will be because we have to evaluate by the hour. We don't want casualties so we have to keep the pressure up so people are too tired to resist.



"Casualties will be bad for us as well."



Analysts said potentially high casualties have prevented the army from going in.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003