'Red shirts' storm Thai TV station

'Red shirts' storm Thai TV station

Protesters get channel back on air as security forces fire water cannon, tear gas

'Red shirts' storm Thai TV station

no stopping: Anti-government protesters hold up weapons they seized from soldiers at Thaicom Teleport and DTH Centre on the outskirts of Bangkok. reuters

Security forces fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters who climbed over rolls of barbed wire and forced open the gate of the compound, holding it for about three hours in defiance of an emergency decree on the 27th day of anti-government street protests seeking new elections.

Most of the soldiers pulled back from the Thaicom Pcl satellite station about 60 km north of Bangkok, leaving the grounds in control of the “red shirts” protesters, supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

Authorities entered the station a day earlier and seized equipment that took their People Channel channel off air, saying it was inciting violence. Other channels were not affected.
“We want our TV back. You cannot shut our eyes and ears,” Jatuporn Prompan, a red shirt leader, said from the back of a truck after leading the protesters into the compound.

Broadcasts resumed after talks between police and protest leaders, prompting the crowd to disperse. But it was not immediately clear how long the broadcasts would stay on. The government has said the channel incites violence.

“If they distort information again, we will have to take measures against it,” said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. The protesters, who briefly besieged parliament on Wednesday, seized guns, batons, shields, bullets and tear-gas cannon from police and soldiers and displayed them at the station.

Many investors doubt even a violent impasse will derail a rebound in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy and one of the world’s fastest-rebounding emerging markets. Thai stocks are up 76 per cent over the past 12 months, Asia’s third-best performer.