It's over! Crunch time: Day two (BIG) surprises

With the government removing all barriers and barbed wire, rally leaders are declaring victory? But Ms Yingluck is still prime minister, so who really won? For now, many people would rather celebrate or just breathe a sigh of relief.

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For today's (December 4) and some answers to what actually happened yesterday, click here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/383097/what-happened

The evening of December 3, 2013. Come visit peaceful Ratchadamnoen Avenue. TAWATCHAI TAWATPAKORN

The day didn't begin with much hope. People expected another day like yesterday with scenes like this one where a protester sprays water back at police near the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB). By his morning those broken barriers were replaced and strengthened and new barbed wire was laid . Then, as if by magic, they were removed and protesters allowed in. Only in Thailand! PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

The protest crowd at Democray Monument celebrates what they believe is a victory. Hopefully it will be a victory -- for the country. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG

Let's be friends -- An anti-government protester shakes hands with a police officer at the Metropolitan Police Bureau on Tuesday morning, in sharp contrast to the violence and teargas on Monday. WASSAYOS NAGMKHAM

Note: "Crunch time" refers to an extremely important moment or period of time when you must make a decision or take action

Waht a difference a few hours makes! We began with a review of yesterday's clashes. They didn't end at nightfalland continued almost until daybreak. Doctors held a press conference confirming that at least two protesters were shot with real bullets and one of them has critical injuries. If he survives, he may never be able to walk, a doctor said. Who shot the bullets is not known. But then, everthing changed. Find out what happened below. There will be updates.

You can see our previous coverage here:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/382687/crunch-time-day-one

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/382533/final-confrontation

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/382260/protests-no-end-in-sight

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/382098/where-are-we-and-what-next

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/381919/protests-not-over-yet

A scene few expected to see when they got up this morning, anti-government protesters on the lawn of Government House. They did not go inside the building. PHRAKRIT JUNTAWONG

18:15

The Prime Minister spoke a short time ago asking all Thais to join together to resolve their divisions as a birthday gift to HM the King. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has made it quite clear that she has not given up power. Instead she is proposing an alternative to the Mr Suthep's People's Assembly which she says has no basis in the present constitution

This afternoon, she  ordered two ministers to set up a "people's forum" bringing together academics and legal experts to discuss how to resolve the long-running political conflict, government spokesman Teerat Rattanasevi said.

Mr Teerat said the prime minister appointed Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana and Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri to oversee the forum at today's cabinet meeting. She stressed the need for all sectors to come together to help end the political protests through negotiation and other peaceful channels, he said.

She also made a televised statement herself at the national police headquarters before leaving to prepare for HM the King's birthday celebrations in Hua Hin. She asked all Thais to join together to work out a solution to the conflict as a birthday gift to the King. She also asked the media to do its part and avoid deepening divisions.

15:30

Maybe it's not over, a report from our online reporters:

Protest rallies will continue until the "Thaksin regime" is finally ended, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban announced on Tuesday.

Mr Suthep told the demonstrators gathered at the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road that their mission is not over despite the occupation of the Metropolitan Police Bureau and Government House grounds.

The protesters later withdrew to their bases, mainly around Democracy Monument and Ratchadamnoen Avenue.

"We can celebrate, but please do not get carried away," he said, referring to what he called "a partial victory".

The Network of Students and People for Thailand's Reform (NSPTR), too, said it will continue to protest

Network leader Uthai Yodmaneesaid the protests would continue because Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had not resigned or dissolved the House of Representives,  members of the Shinawatra family had not left the country, and the "people's council" had not been established as demanded.

"We will declare victory and end the rally only after these goals have been achieved," he said.

12:55

While the rally groups are declaring victory, others are asking questions? Here are some of them:

What will the rally leaders do next?
Will the protests groups demand a transfer of power? If they do, why should it be given to them when they have won no election?
Prime Minister Yingluck is still prime minister. She has the power to dissolve parliament. Will she?
Will rally leaders still face serious criminal charges? Will they get an amnesty?

12:35

There is still a great sense of surprise here, but we are slowly learning a bit of what happened and what is to come. Deputy Government Asawin Kwanmuang has just told reporters that negotiations at the Metropolian Police headquarters took 14 hours and the gates were opened to protesters to prevent further violence. At first protesters were hesitant to enter, but former Democrat MP from Songkhla Thavorn Senniam has just lead a large group of protesters there. He said they had no intention of seizing the site and only wanted to present police their with roses and whistles. He said all they wanted from police was for them to serve the country. He was then seen to negotiate with police on the route they would take. He said they wanted to walk around the MPB area, then go to the Royal Plaza, on to Government House and then back to Ratchadamnoen.

11:35

Protesters at Democracy Monument have declared victory, but no one is really certain what that means. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG

Rally leaders at Ratchadamnoen has lost no time in declaring victory. They say this is a victory for the people, for the country. Sathit Wongnongtoei urges people to come out and celebrate and forbids anyone from harming police or other security forces. He said only think of forgiveness. Do not damage or destroy state property.

11:10

More surprises. Police are allowing protesters into the Government House area. Channel 7 shows small groups already on the streets outside, collecting souvenirs like spent tear gas cannisters. TNN24 reports the tension has eased noticably. The Prime Minister and cabinet look relaxed at their meeting at the Army sports club as she gets ready to go to Hua Hin to prepare for HM the King's birthday celebrations there. Is the worst over?

10:45

Tear gas yesterday, roses today. Protesters arrive at the MPB. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

I said expect the unexpected. Well, instead of greeting the visiting protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets, police at the Metropolitan Police bureau are inviting them in. Really.

Our online reporters say:

Bangkok police chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang says protesters are welcome inside the Metropolitan Police Bureau headquarters on Sri Ayutthaya road and can stay indefinitely.

While inspecting the police force stationed at Pol 1 intersection near near the MPB, Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit told his officers not to use tear gas against protesters, and not to resist if they wanted to go inside the MPB.

"The office belongs to the public and it was built with their tax money," he said.

If protesters want to seize or burn the building, they should be allowed to, and he would take the blame on himself.

Latest reports are that protesters are refusing to take up the offer, fearing it is a trap. More soon.

Morning story

100 injured as second day of clashes shakes capital

Anti-government protesters drive a bulldozer to Pol 1 intersection to remove concrete barriers.The bulldozer, which was covered with nets to prevent police hurling objects at the protesters, was later moved to Chamai Maruchet bridge to demolish barriers there. CHANAT KATANYU

Clashes between anti-government demonstrators and police continued for a second day yesterday, spreading to four sites and injuring almost 100 protesters.

Three people were shot, one of whom was seriously wounded, while others mostly suffered from tear gas exposure, the Public Health Ministry reported.

The skirmishes at Pol 1 intersection and Chamai Maruchet bridge, where the clashes broke out on Sunday, resumed in the morning when thousands of protesters tried to break through police barricades to get into the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) and Government House.

Clashes also erupted at Orathai bridge near Government House and at Karn Ruan intersection near parliament.

At all sites, protesters tried to remove giant concrete barriers and cut barbed-wire fences, prompting police to use tear gas and water cannons.

The situation was most tense at Chamai Maruchet bridge where a Bangkok Post reporter saw at least four people, including a Daily News photographer, get shot.

An Al Jazeera car was also shot at, but their crew was not injured. Another Thai reporter sustained head injuries from a hard object hurled at him.

A field hospital staffed by volunteers. PANUMAS SANGUANGWONG

A field hospital was set up at the nearby Royal Turf Club in the Nang Loeng area where hundreds of protesters who were injured during the Chamai Maruchet and Orathai clashes streamed in to seek first aid. They mostly suffered eye and skin irritation and bruises.

Ambulances were stationed at the site to transfer serious cases to hospitals.

About 7pm, protesters tried to remove concrete barriers at Chamai Maruchet bridge with a bulldozer, prompting police to fire tear gas at them. The clashes were continuing as of press time.

At Orathai bridge, another group of protesters, mostly vocational students, attacked police guarding Government House with rocks and water bottles. Police fired back with tear gas. Protesters failed to break the police line and retreated to Nang Loeng in the evening.

Deputy Bangkok governor Asawin Kwanmuang talks with deputy police chief Worapong Chewpreecha near the MPB. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

At Pol 1 intersection, protesters yesterday successfully removed three of four layers of concrete barriers, allowing them to move closer to the MPB. As the clash escalated, deputy Bangkok governor Asawin Kwanmuang arrived at the MPB and held talks with deputy police chief Worapong Chewpreecha.

Following the talks, police said they would move back five metres and the protesters agreed to cease their attacks.

Protesters take cover near the Karn Ruan intersection before moving forward to try to get to parliament. They failed. PANUMAS SANGUANGWONG

At Karn Ruan intersection, at least 10 protesters were injured during the day-long clash as they tried to break through police barricades to proceed to parliament.

Apart from deploying a bulldozer to remove concrete barriers, the protesters also used giant fans to blow back tear gas police fired at them.

Is this the ultimate anti-tear-gas weapon? PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

Sacks were delivered to the clash sites and protesters soaked them in water and used them to cover tear gas canisters hurled at them. The sodden sacks helped prevent the tear gas spreading.

Related search: Thai anti-government protests, Government House, Suthep Thuagsuban

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