1500 hrs Bangkok time: There is some concern over a grenade attack on the 1st Infantry which has left two soldiers injured. But that camp is a different one of course from the 11th Infantry where the big protest is taking place.
I just returned to Sukhumvit and this will be my last blog post for the day. I had to backtrack about a kilometre on foot before I got a motorbike ride to the underground station at Chatuchak Park. The red shirts have more or less occupied a long stretch of road, perhaps as much as 10 kilometres, though in some parts traffic can still pass. Most shops on the entire stretch are closed though.
The Red shirts have definitely made a statement today, but will it be enough to force political change? The government has played its cards well, not being drawn into a fight. Yet the grenade blasts show that the situation still hangs in the balance.
There is still no telling how many Red shirts can stay on the streets and for how long, and there is also some confusion over the joint session of the House and Senate called for tomorrow by House Speaker Chai Chidchob who happens to be the father of Newin Chidchob, the man who was once a key Thaksin Shinawatra man but switched to the Democrat Party's side to enable it to take power.
Red shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar meanwhile has announced that if the government does not dissolve the House, 100,000 Red shirts will draw enough blood to add up to 1 million cc which will be dumped at Government House tomorrow. This has the Twitter community, well, atwitter.
Some Red shirts are reportedly moving back to base at Phan Fah Bridge on Rajadamnoen. I did see some trundling back - but an equal number at least half an hour ago, were still heading towards the protest at the 11th Infantry.
1250hrs Bangkok time: Democrat Party spokesman Dr Buranaj Smutharaks told me about an hour ago House dissolution was not on the table. Weapons siezed from workshop recently (M79 grenade launchers etc) were "scary" and showed "there are violent elements" among the reds. He said today would be crucial, and government's position is "basically make sure law and order is maintained".
PM Abhisit is apparently not inside the compound. Nattawut Saikuar, a leader of the red shirts, just rolled up in a truck. The army has its own powerful sound system and is sending out messages in Isan, competing with red shirt leader Veera Musigapong. Sometimes the reds jeer loudly to drown the army out. Haven't been able to confirm reports that the razor wire is being removed but removing it from outside the fence will make little difference.
The movement of the reds has paralysed a long stretch of main road in the city from Rajadamnoen to Pahol Yothin. But the HQ is well barricaded and as of now mood seems quite stable.
1115hrs Bangkok time: Probably about 500 soldiers with riot shields and communication equipment deployed about 20m inside wrought iron fence at 11th Infantry HQ. Main gate protected by coils of razor wire. A thicket of razor wire also lines the inside of the fence. Clearly anyone trying to get over risks severe lacerations.
Soldiers stationed well within the compound zone, some 20m from the outer wall.
ST Photo: Nirmal Ghosh
There are around 5,000 reds here and growing. Road outside clogged with their vehicles. Two pedestrian overhead bridges clogged with reds. They are jeering and shouting abuse at the soldiers. A mood of excitement is in the air not one of aggressiveness.
No weapons are in sight among the reds except for the usual bamboo flagpoles with sharpened ends.
1020hrs Bangkok time (11:20 Singapore time): Red shirts are trundling up the road from Victory Monument in strength heading for the 11th Infantry Regiment HQ where the government's "war room" is located, run by PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, DPM Suthep Thaudsuban and army chief gen Anupong Paojinda.
They haven't reached there yet but all the way up Pahol Yothin from Chatuchak market onwards there are groups of red shirts in an ebullient mood despite scorching heat waiting for the main column to reach. Passers by and local office workers are lining the street to watch the spectacle. Some are waving red items of cloth at the protesters.
Red shirts began to throng the streets, careful to avoid the razor wire.
ST Photo: Nirmal Ghosh
PM was just on TV saying he was willing to listen to everybody but would not dissolve the House. The reds had given the PM until 12 noon to dissolve the House and call an election.
Today's demo ups the ante. There are people - including in the reds - who consider it provocative. The government says the army's response will be calibrated and non-lethal. It is a game of brinkmanship.
Life in the rest of Bangkok is fairly normal.