Timeline: Twists and turns in Thailand’s crisis

BANGKOK (BestGrowthStock) – Thailand’s military toughened its stance on Thursday against anti-government protesters defying orders to end a protest that has turned violent and held Bangkok hostage for nine weeks.

The army said armored vehicles would be sent to strengthen checkpoints and prevent more protesters from joining the 20,000 mostly rural and urban poor “red shirt” demonstrators rallying in an upscale hotel and shopping district.

Following is a timeline of the main developments in the current round of crisis that has battered tourism and consumer confidence and left 29 people dead and more than 1,000 wounded.

March 12 – Protesters converge on Bangkok

March 14 – Up to 150,000 protesters hold mass rally at the Phan Fah bridge in Bangkok’s old quarter

March 17 – Protesters splash bottles of their own blood outside prime minister’s home and office as a sign of their “sacrifice for democracy”

March 29 – Two days of televised talks between the government and protest leaders end without agreement. Red shirts vow to continue their fight

April 3 – Protesters seize the Rachaprasong intersection in downtown Bangkok, which is packed with shopping malls and hotels

April 6 – Up to 90,000 red shirts defy government orders by holding a mobile Bangkok rally in pickup trucks and on motorcycles

April 8 – State of emergency declared in Bangkok after red shirts force their way into parliament

April 9 – Protesters lay siege to Thaicom satellite earth station in Pathum Thani, seeking to get a blocked TV channel back on air

April 10 – Troops attempt to break up protest at Phan Fah bridge, 25 people killed and more than 800 wounded in the country’s worst clashes in 18 years

April 14 – Red shirts consolidate protests into one site at Rachaprasong

April 16 – Four red shirt leaders escape, one by scaling down a building wall on a cable, after police commandoes try to raid their hotel but are overwhelmed by protesters

April 22 – One woman is killed and more than 70 civilians injured when five M-79 grenades are launched near pro-government demonstrators in Bangkok’s Silom Road business district

April 28 – A soldier is killed and about 20 protesters wounded when clashes erupt after security forces try to block a mobile rally on a highway in Bangkok’s outskirts

May 3 – Abhisit announces a five-point reconciliation road map, culminating in a Nov 14 election

May 4 – Red shirts respond, saying they accept Abhisit’s offer, but object to election date

May 7 – Gun and grenade attacks in the heavily guarded Silom area kill two police and wound 13, among them 10 police officers

May 11 – Red shirt leaders announce they agree to Abhisit’s peace plan but make several demands that the government rejects

May 12 – Abhisit tells red shirts the deal is off and cancels plans for November 14 election, giving demonstrators until midnight to end their protest or face eviction by force

May 13 – The military vows to use armored vehicles to block roads around the protest site to prevent more demonstrators from joining the rally, which climbs to almost 20,000 after leaders call for reinforcements

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(Compiled by Martin Petty; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

Timeline: Twists and turns in Thailand’s crisis