Bangkok, the 22nd of May 2010 [PDN]: Although giving some indication that the ‘road map’ to recovery was still to be put into practice, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva did not state whether the previously planned November 14 elections were still to be held. In a national address the premier stated; “The government would continue the road map for national reconciliation as announced earlier and we would have an additional plan to repair all the damage brought about by the conflict – mental, economic, social and even political.”
At present, in the continued effort to cleanup and restore normalcy in its entirety to the streets of Bangkok, municipal workers, emergency services and the military and police are working round the clock to remove all signs of the recent 9-week protests from the capital. Firefighters will remain stationed at the, near completely destroyed, Central World shopping center to monitor the still smouldering and potentially dangerous remains. Sniffer dogs and bomb disposal experts continue to scour the city for explosives and crude homemade devices whilst Skytrain and public transport services are expected to return to the affected areas by Monday morning.
A sweep of the Ratchaprasong intersection was conducted on Friday, with soldiers and bomb experts discovering several potentially deadly weapons and explosive devices along with numerous petrol bombs, slingshots and handheld weapons. Reportedly various professional C4 explosive devices have also been found in several vehicles around the affected area of Bangkok, strengthening fears of more potentially deadly attacks. The army yesterday conducted a sweep of several buildings thought to be in use by fugitive Red Shirt protesters including; Rajdamri Hotel, Regent House, Erawan Hotel, Centre Point and Four Seasons Hotel, however no arrests were made.
Despite the premier’s address and the relative normalcy that seems to have been restored to the capital, various factions have begun to emerge in support of a continuation of the Red Shirt cause. Social activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk informed the media that he would form a new group called ‘Democratic Conference’ to revive the red-shirt group’s struggle for a truly democratic government whilst former Communist insurgent and leader of the Red Siam party Surachai Danwattananusorn said the group would stage a rally at Sanam Luang to carry on the reds’ fight once the state of emergency was lifted.
Meanwhile, various influential Red Shirt protesters who have returned to their homes in the North and North Eastern provinces of Thailand have stated that they would now regroup following events in Bangkok before proceeding with their fight for democracy.