Thai coup: Last groups of protesters get marching orders

Thai coup: Last groups of protesters get marching orders

The last groups of protesters from both sides of the political divide left their rally sites yesterday, as police and soldiers were sent to dismantle their barricades, bunkers and makeshift camps.

Protesters were transported on military buses to the Southern Bus Terminus and the Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

The operation began at about 5.30am on Rajdamnoen Avenue, where the protest sites of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee and the Student and People Network for Thailand's Reform were located.

More than 200 policemen and soldiers, helped by cleaners and street sweepers from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, cleared and cleaned the sites near Government House.

Two military trucks and an excavator were also used in the operation.

Barbed-wire fences and piles of tyres were removed, as the last group of anti-government protesters were packing their belongings at the protest site near Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge.

A number of weapons were discovered by soldiers searching the protest site, including a tear-gas launcher, teargas canisters, imitation shotguns, bulletproof vests, and teargas masks. The objects were handed over to police.

Roads around the three protest sites remained closed to traffic yesterday, with the roads to be reopened once the authorities were sure the sites were safe. Officers from bomb disposal units scanned the sites for possible explosives.

There were no reports of injuries or deaths at the rally site of the pro-government red shirts on Aksa Road after soldiers dispersed their demonstration on Thursday evening, according to Dr Kongdej Leethochavalit, a senior public health official in Nakhon Pathom where ousted government supporters had gathered.

There was only little resistance to the military, with sporadic gunshots reported.

In a related development, seven home-made bombs were found inside a men's toilet at a petrol station on Lan Luang Road yesterday morning. The bombs were wrapped in black tape and hidden inside a garbage bin.

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