After a week of unrest in the center of Bangkok, life in the capital was a little bit more normal on Monday. Both Skytrain and MRT systems resumed their activities with Skytrains running until 8:00 pm and BTS running until midnight. Saladaeng Skytrain station, which was closed everywhere over the weekend, was also operational. More shops were opened around the Silom area, while the Central Department Store on Chidlom – near Rachaprasong- welcomed its first customers after a few days of being closed.
Police forces have also turned more discreet. In Silom, only the army was visible during the day, however, the conflict is now expanding to the province where “Red Shirts” started to protest in cities mainly located in the north and northeast part of the country. On Sunday, police headquarters in Chiang Mai was hit by a M79 grenade – the same type as the ones used in the Silom casualties. Red shirts have also blocked trucks carrying policemen sent to Bangkok that were due to join police forces in the capital. Actions took place in Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani, as well as in Phitsanulok. The goal is to block all roads going to Bangkok.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva vowed again during the weekend to normalize the situation in Bangkok and reopen the area in Rachaprasong and Rachadamri streets up to Lumpini Park, but has so far not provided a specific date as to when this will occur. The Red Shirts’ controlled area stretches for approximately one mile and is considerably disturbing daily life in the commercial center of the capital. Hotels and shops remain closed in the area, while cars are banned from entering. At the Four Seasons Hotel, monks have turned the outside gardens into their camp with showers set next to the hotel entrance. It is not sure if the hotel sees the monks’ presence in its gardens as a real blessing.