Hundreds of police and troops, backed by armoured vehicles, converged on the red-shirt protesters’ camp in Bangkok early Wednesday, raising fears of an imminent crackdown.
Twelve armoured personnel carriers (APCs) with machine guns mounted on top arrived in the Silom business district, and two took up positions in front of the protesters’ homemade barricades before dawn.
Nearby, several trucks dropped off troops wearing balaclavas and carrying weapons and riot shields.
Hundreds of armed police were forming lines in Sukhumvit Road, a main thoroughfare leading into the protest zone, backed up by some 20 police vans on the roadside.
APCs were also seen beginning to demolish the protesters’ barricades.
Buildings around Din Daeng and Bon Kai areas including the Office Narcotics Control Board were set on fire in the morning. Heavy smoke was seen covering Chulalongkorn Hospital as it was considering whether to evacuate patients.