On the days leading up to 22 April, significant pro-government ("no color" or "multicolor shirts
") rallies appeared in Bangkok alongside the anti-government ones for the first time. Some of the demonstrators were clearly pro-government, meanwhile other ones were just Bangkokians tired of the disruption in their city life that Red-Shirts were causing On Wednesday, 21 April, the two groups clashed near the opening to Silom Road
. On Thursday afternoon the two groups clashed again. According to BBC reporter Alastair Leithead, a small group of people "walked through police lines and started throwing bottles and stones towards barricades manned by Red-Shirt protesters." The Red-Shirts responded by firing fireworks into the air.]
Pro-government protesters urged the military to attack, shouting "Fight, fight!" The police did not respond to the conflict. Anti-Thaksin "Yellow Shirt" protesters threatened "to step into the conflict and push out the Red-Shirts themselves if the army doesn't take firmer action" against the Red-Shirt protesters, who are being encouraged by Thaksin Shinawatra from abroad.
Early on 22 April, the Thai army warned Red-Shirt protesters that their chance to cease and desist was "running out". 10,000 troops were moved to central Bangkok. The military threatened to "use tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, if necessary", to combat the UDD protesters. "If we move in, we will attempt to arrest the leaders," said army spokesman Col. Sunsern Kaewkumnerd. "The government will be very decisive but in the beginning of the operation there may be chaos." UDD leaders remained defiant, saying it was up to General Anupong Paochinda "whether to kill people or to stop the killing."
On the evening of 22 April, around 8 pm local time, a series of explosions in Bangkok alleged by the government to have been perpetrated by assailants linked to the red-shirt protesters killed one person and injured 86 more, including at least four foreigners. The explosions were caused by at least five M-79 grenades. Three of the grenades were set off at Saladaeng Skytrain station (the elevated railway that is the main public transport), one near the Dusit Thani Hotel, and one near a bank. It was the first time during the protests that a grenade attack occurred in a densely populated area and the first time that serious injuries occurred, although dozens of grenade attacks had occurred since the protest started. The government did not blame the Red-Shirt movement itself, but rather unspecified "terrorists" for the attack. Suthep stated, "the M79 launcher had a 400-metre shooting range and it was clear that it was shot from behind the King Rama VI
Monument where the Red-Shirts are rallying". Red-Shirt leaders denied being responsible for the attacks.
© Antoni Uni, el primero UniCo de l'Escala 2018