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Posts Tagged ‘army’

Libya’s Gaddafi proposes 1 million-strong African army

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

African nations should join forces to create a one-million-strong army to protect the continent and confront outsiders like NATO and China, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Tuesday.


Gaddafi, well known for his forthright rhetoric, has acquired growing influence in Africa but his ambition to build a united states of Africa is not shared by the continent’s biggest powers.


“National militaries alone cannot save countries. Africa should have one army with one million soldiers,” Gaddafi said in a speech in the Senegalese capital.


He said the joint force would “guard the borders and seas, protect Africa’s independence and confront NATO, China, France, Britain and other countries.”


Speaking at an event called the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, Gaddafi also attacked opponents of his long-standing proposal for a unified African government.


“They should leave home, abandon their countries and go and live in the capitals of the capitalist, imperialist countries which once occupied Africa,” he said in his speech.


Gaddafi has been pushing for an African unity government for years, saying it is the only way Africa can develop without Western interference.


His ideas have had a sympathetic response in some states, helped by his reputation in parts of the continent as champion of the developing world and also by the millions of dollars in aid his oil-exporting country gives to Africa.


But many African leaders, especially in the bigger economies, are skeptical. They say they cannot be expected to cede sovereignty to an African bloc only a few decades after wresting it from their colonial rulers.

Source: SGGP

Army units active in helping people in flooding

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm

People’s Army Newspaper presents more relief to flood victims

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 at 5:35 am




People’s Army Newspaper presents more relief to flood victims


QĐND – Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 21:23 (GMT+7)

PANO – More relief has been provided for flood victims in two central provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh by representatives from the People’s Army Newspaper and several organisations in Hanoi.


The relief, including mainly clothes, rice, medicines, notebooks and other necessities, were transported by the Transportation Department’s Unit C71, under the General Department of Logistics, from Hanoi.


Recipients in flood-stricken areas, such as Can Loc, Huong Khe and Vu Quang Districts in Ha Tinh Province and Tuyen Hoa, Bo Trach, Quang Trach Districts in Quang Binh, were so moved when receiving the gifts.


Thousands of soldiers have also been sent to these districts to help local people overcome the aftermath of the flooding and help them to return their lives to normal.


In early October, the People’s Army Newspaper also worked with the Thien Duc Investment and Development Joint Stock Company to present relief to flood victims in Quang Binh.


Translated by Duy Minh


 


Source: QDND

The People’s Army Newspaper and historical landmarks

In Uncategorized on October 18, 2010 at 2:24 pm




The People’s Army Newspaper and historical landmarks


QĐND – Monday, October 18, 2010, 21:19 (GMT+7)


PANO – First circulated on October 20th, 1950, the People’s Army Newspaper has closely grown with the development of the Vietnamese Revolution, of the People’s Army and of the Armed Forces of Vietnam.

The history of the People’s Army Newspaper (PAN) is part of the history of the leadership and organisation of the Communist Party of Vietnam in the cause of resistance wars for the national liberation, as well as the history of building, fighting and working of the People’s Army, armed forces and Vietnamese people, which clearly demonstrated the precise and successful leadership and guidance of the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of Defence and the General Department of Politics.


As an organ of the Central Military Commission and the Defence Ministry, the voice of the armed forces and people of Vietnam, the People’s Army Newspaper has been a reliable and sharp-worded weapon of the Party and the Army in politics, ideology and culture for 60 years now. The Newspaper has also been the voice of the Party, the Army, armed forces and Vietnamese people on important issues of the country and of people.


Moreover, the Newspaper has seen as a mental and political bridge between the Party with the Army and Vietnamese people and an essentially and closely mental food for troops and various readers.


The People’s Army Newspaper has greatly contributed to the revolutionary and developmental cause of the country.


Established during the war against the French colonists, at the same time with the Victory of the Border Campaign in October 1950 and in the new development of the resistance war and the People’s Army of Vietnam, the People’s Army Newspaper became a new effective weapon.


During the historical Dien Bien Phu Campaign, the People’s Army Newspaper made public a special publication, encouraging soldiers and civilians in each battle. The presence of the People’s Army Newspaper on the Dien Bien Phu Front was a success for the Newspaper, particularly speaking, and for the Vietnam Revolutionary Press, generally speaking.


During the period of building the army since peace was set, the Newspaper had a lot of articles to encourage a patriotic emulation movement, “Ba Nhất” (Three Leadings, Leading in military and technical practice, Leading in discipline and model, Leading in work and production), demonstrating movements of “Sóng Duyên Hải” (Coastal Wave) in the industry and among workers, “Gió Đại Phong” (Huge Typhoon) in agriculture and farmers in the North.


In addition, the Newspaper’s articles also actively helped promote patriotism, revolutionary spirit, close sentiments of the North and the South among the Vietnamese people, as well as affirm the armed struggle for the South liberation and national unification.  


As the American imperialists waged a fierce war against North Vietnam, the whole nation of Vietnam was in danger.







Doan Cong Tinh, a newspaper photographer of PAN in Quang Tri  (3-1972)

In late 1964 and early 1965, the Newspaper highlighted the brave, determined example of Battalion 14’s commissar, Nguyen Viet Xuan, whose order was “Look straight at the enemy and shoot”. The order was soon turned into a big propaganda on the Newspaper, praising the strong will and attitude of Vietnamese troops when facing American ruthlessness and weapons.


In fact, the order also reflected the PAN’s will and attitude in the war against the American imperialists for national salvation.


During that time, PAN reporters were assigned to cover activities in fronts and battle-fields. Big movements, emerging examples, daringly political and military comments were featured on the PAN, partly promoting revolutionary heroism and strong determination among the whole soldiers and civilians, step-by-step approaching to the last victory of the sacred resistance war. Movements included “Double work for the South”, “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”, “Three Readinesses”, “One wins over 20”, “Life is best at the front against the enemy”, “Going through Truong Son range to save the country” and so on.


Covering the war against the American imperialists for national salvation, PAN developed into a new comprehensive and brilliant height, and became a reliable address of the army and people as well as an international prestigious newspaper in the world. It deserved to be a leading political newspaper of the Press of Vietnam.


Since 1977, when wars were launched on the Southwestern border and in the Northern border, PAN followed Vietnamese volunteers in the neighboring country, Cambodia. Many PAN’s articles deeply featured sacrifices and bright examples of the Vietnam People’s Army, who was determined to protect the nation and to show solidarity and pure and impartial friendship.


During the “Doi Moi” process, PAN was among leading newspapers to analyse and make clear the Party’s Doi Moi viewpoint that Doi Moi was to firmly protect the national independence and socialism; Doi Moi so as to stabilise and develop the country; Doi Moi from the Party to the whole society, in thought and in action.


PAN highly spoke of good examples in the army and localities during this process.


During the fall of Soviet Union and several socialist republics, PAN actively helped brighten the Party’s policies to follow the way that President Ho Chi Minh, the Party, the whole army and people selected.


Besides, PAN reflected initial achievements during the Doi Moi process, greatly contributing to erasing any doubts, fluctuating opinions and wrong points of view among readers and laying a firm foundation for them to strongly believe in the cause of constructing and developing the country.


PAN’s weekly, “PAN at Weekends”, and monthly publications, “Events and Witnesses”, were debuted in 1990 and March 1994 respectively, to meet demand of a large number of readers inside and outside the army.


In early the 21st century, PAN has renovated itself along with strong and deep development of the press. Since December 22nd, 2002, PAN has doubled its daily publication to eight pages, supplying readers more updated news with diversity of contents, featuring all fields in the army and throughout the country.


Also, the Online People’s Army Newspaper was introduced later for domestic and international readers.


Attentively, PAN’s articles have featured big movements among the Party, Army and People including “Studying and Following Ho Chi Minh’s Thoughts”, “Studying and Following the Moral Example of Ho Chi Minh”; highly spoken of the national industrialisation and modernisation and international integration, the cause of constructing the whole people’s national defence closely linking with people’s security and building a regular, elite, modern and revolutionary army.


PAN has lively and directly reflected army units readiness for newly and urgent-assigned tasks, daring to sacrifice to save the lives of people in floods, assisting local citizens in poverty and hunger elimination and preventing social evils.


PAN has proved the tradition of Uncle Ho’s Soldiers in the new period.


Furthermore, a lot of articles printed and posted on PAN have criticised wrong and hostile viewpoints with tricks aimed at separating the great national solidarity bloc, the Party and the Government from people.


For 60 years now, PAN has greatly contributed to the revolutionary war and the national construction and defence. Its great achievements have been recognised by the Party, the State and the Army as well. In 2000, PAN received the title of “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces”. In 2005, PAN was honorably conferred the “Yellow Star Medal”, the most noble of the nation.


This year, on its 60th birth anniversary, PAN received the title “Labor Hero” recognising its outstanding achievements during the Doi Moi process and the cause of the national construction and defence.


With various noble titles, PAN is deserved to its name which was named by Uncle Ho and be the newspaper of Heroic People’s Army of Vietnam forever.


Compiled by Manh Hung


Translated by Mai Huong


Source: QDND

59 die in suicide attack on Iraq army recruitment centre

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:23 am

BAGHDAD, Aug 17, 2010 (AFP) – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded army recruitment centre in Baghdad killing 59 people Tuesday, officials said, as violence coinciding with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan raged across Iraq.


The attack, blamed on Al-Qaeda and the deadliest this year, wounded at least another 100 people and came a day after Iraq’s two main political parties suspended talks over the formation of a new government and as the US withdraws thousands of its soldiers from the country.


US President Barack Obama led international condemnation of the attack, with his spokesman insisting the bomber’s attempt to “derail the advances that the Iraqi people have made” would not succeed.

U.S. soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of Army Specialist Jamal M. Rhett out of a C-17 during a dignified transfer on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base August 17, 2010 in Dover, Delaware. Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Rhett of Palmyra, New Jersey, died Aug. 15 in Ba Qubah, Iraq. AFP

Britain and France joined in, with Paris describing it as “cowardly” and London labelling it “unjustified and vicious.”


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a high-level probe into the bombing, which Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim Atta blamed on Al-Qaeda.


“The fingerprints of Al-Qaeda are very clear in this attack,” Atta told AFP. “You can see it in the timing, the circumstances, the target and the style of the attack — all the information indicates it was Al-Qaeda behind this.”


An official at Baghdad morgue put the death toll at 59, while a doctor at Medical City hospital, close to the scene of the attack, said they had received 125 wounded.


The bomber blew himself up around 7:30 am (0430 GMT) at the centre, a former ministry of defence building that now houses a local security command, in the Baab al-Muatham neighbourhood in the heart of the capital.


An interior ministry official said the majority of the victims were prospective soldiers seeking to enlist on the last day of a week-long recruitment drive but that some troops who were protecting the compound were also hurt and killed.


“After the explosion, everyone ran away, and the soldiers fired into the air,” said 19-year-old Ahmed Kadhim, one of the recruits at the centre who escaped unharmed from the attack.


“I saw dozens of people lying on the ground, some of them were on fire. Others were running with blood pouring out.”


Kadhim said the recruits, who had to pass two searches to enter the recruitment centre compound, had been divided into groups based on their educational qualifications, with the suicide bomber targeting the selection of high school graduates.


A doctor at Medical City hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity, said several of the wounded remained in critical condition and added that most of the victims were “very young — less than 20 years old.”


Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area following the attack, and security was stepped up across the capital, leading to traffic gridlock during the morning rush hour.


A shop owner in the area, who did not want to be named, blamed negligence on the part of army officers for the attack.


“This is the fault of the officers responsible for securing the area — they let these recruits gather outside the centre without any protection,” he said.


Also on Tuesday, two policemen were gunned down at a security checkpoint in the northern city of Kirkuk, and a senior trade ministry official was shot dead in west Baghdad, security officials said.


Two separate bomb attacks against judges in Baghdad and the central city of Baquba left four of them wounded, the officials added.


The recruitment centre explosion was the bloodiest single attack here since December 8, when coordinated blasts in the capital killed 127 people, and recalls a spate of suicide bombings against army recruitment posts in 2006 and 2007, when Iraq’s insurgency was at its peak.


Violence has surged in the past two months in Iraq, with 200 people already killed in August alone, and the latest bloodletting, which coincides with Ramadan, has sparked concern that local forces are not yet prepared to handle the country’s security on their own.


American commanders insist that Iraqi soldiers are up to the job as they pull out thousands of their forces ahead of a declaration to an end to combat operations at the end of August.


But Iraq’s top military officer has raised doubt about his soldiers’ readiness when the last US troops depart as scheduled at the end of 2011. American forces would need to stay until 2020, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari said earlier this month.


Iraq is also mired in a political stalemate, with the winner of its March election breaking off talks with his main rival Monday evening, dampening already faint hopes that a government could be formed before Ramadan ends in the middle of September.

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Source: SGGP

59 die in suicide attack on Iraq army recruitment centre

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 11:22 am

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded army recruitment centre in Baghdad killing 59 people Tuesday, officials said, as violence coinciding with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan raged across Iraq.


The attack, the deadliest this year, wounded at least another 100 people and came a day after Iraq’s two main political parties suspended talks over the formation of a new government five months on from elections, and as the US withdraws thousands of its soldiers from the country.


“We have received 59 corpses this morning,” an official at Baghdad morgue said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A doctor at Medical City hospital, close to the scene of the attack, said they had so far received 125 wounded.

An Iraqi policeman mans a mobile checkpoint where cars are searched in central Baghdad on August 17, 2010, following a suicide bombing at a crowded army recruitment centre in the Iraqi capital early in the morning in which more than 40 people were killed

The bomber blew himself up around 7:30 am (0430 GMT) at the centre, a former ministry of defence building that now houses a local security command, in the Baab al-Muatham neighbourhood of central Baghdad.


An interior ministry official said the majority of the victims were army recruits but that some soldiers who were protecting the recruitment centre compound were also among the casualties.


“After the explosion, everyone ran away, and the soldiers fired into the air,” said 19-year-old Ahmed Kadhim, one of the recruits at the centre who escaped unharmed from the attack.


“I saw dozens of people lying on the ground, some of them were on fire. Others were running with blood pouring out.”


Kadhim said the recruits had been divided into groups based on their educational qualifications, with the suicide bomber targeting the selection of high school graduates.


“I don’t know how he managed to get through all the security measures,” he added, referring to two searches that each recruit had to pass before being allowed in the area. “Maybe he hid in the area from last night.”


Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area following the attack, and security was stepped up across the capital, leading to traffic gridlock during the morning rush hour.


Also on Tuesday, two separate bomb attacks against judges in Baghdad and the central city of Baquba left four of them wounded, security officials said.


The recruitment centre explosion was the bloodiest single attack in Iraq since December 8, when a series of coordinated blasts in the capital killed 127 people.


Violence has surged in the past two months in Iraq, with 200 people already killed in August alone and Iraqi government figures saying that 535 people died in July — the deadliest month in Iraq since 2008. The US military disputes the July figure, saying 222 people died violently.


Violence has surged since the start of Ramadan on August 11, with a spate of weekend bombings and shootings killing 18 people and a car bomb attack on Tuesday killing five, including four Iranian pilgrims.


The bloodletting has sparked concern that local forces are not yet prepared to handle the country’s security on their own.


American commanders, however, insist, that Iraqi soldiers are up to the job as they pull out thousands of their forces ahead of a declaration to an end to combat operations at the end of August.


But Iraq’s top military officer has raised doubt about his soldiers’ readiness when the last US troops depart as scheduled at the end of 2011. American forces would need to stay until 2020, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari said earlier this month.


Iraq is also mired in a political stalemate, with the winner of its March election breaking off talks with his main rival Monday evening, dampening already faint hopes that a government could be formed before Ramadan ends in the middle of September.


The country’s security forces have been persistent targets at the hands of insurgent groups since the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, as they are seen by militants as a symbol of the government, and representatives of an “occupying force.”

Source: SGGP

Army term to be launched in Singapore

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm




Army term to be launched in Singapore


QĐND – Monday, June 07, 2010, 20:59 (GMT+7)

Vietnamese pupils aged from 13 to 19, who take part in the army term, will join a week-long training course in Singapore with many interesting activities.


According to Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Director of the Southern Teenager Center, trainees are required to complete difficult lessons in Singapore such as crossing a 3 meter-high wall.


These trainees will study at the Changi Coast Adventure Center of Singapore for 4 days. The course helps trainees to be more self – confident.


Pham Thi Thuy Trang, mother of Tran Kim Khue, one of the trainees, said the course will help her child to improve his confidence and English.


This is the first time that the army team sent pupils to train in foreign countries. These participants of the program will be sent to Singapore at two periods from July 3rd to 9th and August 1st to 7th respectively.


The program is launched by the the Southern Teenager Center and the MOE Changi training center of Singapore’s Education and Training Ministry.


Source: TP


Translated by Duy Minh


Source: QDND

Egypt unearths tomb of pharaonic army chief

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2010 at 5:18 am

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed a vast tomb belonging to a pharaonic army commander who oversaw the ancient kingdom’s treasury, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Sunday.


The tomb of Betah Mes, who was also a royal scribe and in charge of the state granaries, dates back to the 19th dynasty, which ruled Egypt between 1320 and 1200 BC.


Antiquities chief Zahi Hawass told AFP that the 70-metre-long (yard) tomb, discovered in the Saqarra necropolis, south of Cairo, branched off into passages and prayer rooms.

A handout picture released by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) on May 30 shows a mural found in an unearthed vast tomb belonging to a pharaonic army commander who also oversaw the kingdom’s treasury in the Saqarra necropolis south of Cairo

Workers unearthed reliefs depicting offerings to deities and the deceased and his family worshipping a trinity of gods, Amun, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu, said Ola el-Ugaizi, who headed the expedition.


The tomb also contains reliefs of Mes and his family hunting and fishing in the Nile river, and Ushtabi figurines which ancient Egyptians believed would serve the deceased in the afterlife.


But the expedition’s spokeswoman Heba Mostapha said the tomb had been looted and its pillars used to build churches.


“Part of the destruction we found in the grave was because its pillars were used to build churches in the Christian period and it was looted in the 19th century in the period of Mohammed Ali Pasha,” she said.


The team was continuing its search for the tomb’s main chamber, where they believed they would find Mes’s mummy and perhaps that of his wife.

Source: SGGP

Thai army to move on protest site if no dispersal: spokesman

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

The Thai army said Saturday it plans to move against anti-government protesters’ sprawling base in the capital if they do not disperse, but gave no timetable for taking the action.

A ‘Red Shirt’ anti government protester runs in a street as he faces Thai soldiers (not seen) during ongoing clashes in Bangkok on May 15, 2010. (AFP Photo)

“There is a plan to crack down on Ratchaprasong if the protest does not end,” said army spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, referring to the area in Bangkok occupied by protesters.


“But authorities will not set a deadline because without effective planning there will more loss of life.”


At least 17 people have died in clashes between “Red Shirt” protesters and troops since late Thursday, when the army began blocking roads on the perimeter of the Red Shirt camp in a bid to seal it off.


“The containment plan is not 100-percent effective. There are still some people who manage to enter the protest site but the measure has been able to halve the number of protesters,” he said.


Panitan Wattanayagorn, the government’s spokesman, said 6,000 Red Shirts remained at the site.


Thai “Red Shirt” protester Sakda Sudtae stood guard at two-metre-high barricades made from bamboo, tyres and razor wire Saturday, nervously fingering a slingshot on his belt.


“I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” said the 33-year-old from northeastern Thailand, the morning after his anti-government group’s latest clashes with security forces left at least 16 people dead.


“I’m afraid, but I have no choice. All of us are afraid to die,” he added.


A burnt-out bus stood down the street outside the barricade. Soldiers have moved to seal off the area around the protest site, which sprawls across four kilometres (2.5 miles) of central Bangkok.

A slain Thai woman (top R) lies on the ground along with injured people following fresh street battles between troops and protestors, near an anti-government protest site in downtown Bangkok on May 15, 2010. (AFP Photo)

Gunfire and explosions have rung out around the Red zone, where troops have stepped up security measures to search for weapons and reduce the number of people entering the area.


Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the lockdown had proved effective because the number of protesters at the main encampment had fallen to 6,000 on Friday night. Children and the elderly appeared to have left the area.


One of the Red Shirts’ own “security guards,” 35-year-old Dang Thongyu from northern Thailand, blamed troops for the recent spike in violence.


“We don’t mind being cordoned off like this. We’re happy to stay in here, but the military has to step back a bit. Instead, they’re moving in,” he said.


“Both sides were testing one another and got closer and closer so inevitably, something happened,” he added.


The barricade guards are the first line of defence for rallies that began in mid-March, inspired by a new political awareness among Thailand’s rural poor that has found increasing support among others displeased with elites.


The Reds condemn the current administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as illegitimate because it came to power with army support in a 2008 parliamentary vote, two years after a coup ousted populist prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.


Red guards, wary of snipers, on Saturday morning stretched black fabric to shield a footbridge over their barricades.


On the bridge lay piles of energy-drink bottles and stones ready to be thrown at advancing troops. Reds have also stashed a bottle of motor lubricant and a bag of mung beans to make the road slippery.


“With military boots, they will have problems,” said 42-year-old Somchai Sanwong as he manned the barricades, but acknowledged: “We are all very afraid.”


“Obviously we’re outgunned, outnumbered. In the worst case, if the soldiers come, we’ll just burn the barricades,” he added.


Their movement remained largely peaceful until April 10 when security forces failed in an attempt to disperse the protesters from the city’s historic district, leaving 25 dead and more than 800 injured.


The Red Shirts then shifted their rally base to Bangkok’s upscale retail heartland, forcing mass closures of shopping malls and hotels. Fearful residents have left the area in the face of increased shootings and explosions.


“All my tenants have moved out, temporarily. But for how long does this bloody thing go on?” said Prapa Smutkojob, owner of a pair of apartment buildings within the Red zone.


Down from one barricade, inside the protest area, a handful of residents set up a small barrier of their own to prevent Reds from retreating down their side street.


“When the military pushes people this way, they’ll look for a place to escape. We don’t want them here,” said 30-year-old resident, Piboon Lapchareen.


“They come with weapons and inflammable things and the soldiers will come after them, so you can imagine what would happen,” he added.


On the other side of the barricades, tyres and a garbage truck burned while gunfire rang out on Rama IV road. Ladda Monokalchamvat, 46, and her daughter were dragging suitcases with the help of a doorman.


“I’m leaving my condominium. They’ve switched off all the lights and we don’t have any food. I’m moving to my parents’ place,” she said. “The last two nights have been the most dangerous. That’s why we’re leaving.”

Source: SGGP

Thai army to seal off protest site as poll plan axed

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

Thailand’s army warned Thursday it would seal off a protest site in the capital with armoured vehicles, turning up the heat on defiant “Red Shirts” as the premier shelved a plan for early elections.


Hopes were fading of an imminent resolution to a crippling two-month crisis that has sparked several outbreaks of deadly unrest and brought parts of Bangkok to a standstill.


“I have cancelled the election date… because protesters refuse to disperse,” Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters. “I have told security officials to restore normality as soon as possible.”


An army spokesman said security forces would surround the anti-government protest site in the heart of Bangkok with armoured vehicles from 6:00 pm (1100 GMT) to prevent more demonstrators entering the area.

A ‘Red Shirt’ anti-government guard looks up as a helicopter hovers over their fortified camp in Bangkok on May 13, 2010. Thailand’s army warned Thursday it would seal off the protest site in the capital with armoured vehicles

“No one would be allowed in,” the spokesman, Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, told AFP. “Snipers will be deployed in the operation.”


He said troops would be authorised to use live ammunition for warning shots, self-defence and against “armed terrorists.”


The authorities have asked businesses around the protest area on Ratchaprasong intersection to stop operations Friday until the situation returns to normal, Sunsern added.


The planned move was announced after authorities failed to carry out a threat to cut off utilities to the protesters at midnight Wednesday although Abhisit said Thursday that the action would still go ahead.


The embattled premier had offered to dissolve parliament in the second half of September for elections on November 14 if all parties accepted his reconciliation plan.


The Reds, who have been protesting in Bangkok for two months in a campaign for early elections, initially agreed to enter the process but efforts to reach a deal that would see them go home have since broken down.


Twenty-nine people have been killed and almost 1,000 injured in Bangkok in a series of confrontations and attacks since the protests began in mid-March. It is Thailand‘s worst political violence in almost two decades.


The movement says it will not disperse until Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban is charged for his role in overseeing a failed April 10 crackdown that left 25 people dead, including 20 protesters.


Red Shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn said Thursday that scrapping the election and dissolution of parliament was a betrayal of the Thai public.


“The government has committed political suicide if there is no election,” he said on a stage at the Reds’ fortified camp in a retail district, where several shopping centres and hotels have been forced to close temporarily.


Another Red Shirt leader, Nattawut Saikuar, said that while the protesters remained committed to the election and dissolution, “justice” was their number one priority.


“Justice for more than 20 of our people who lost their lives is most important while dissolution and election are a very small issue,” he said.


The Reds, whose heartland is in the impoverished rural northeast, say the government is undemocratic because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling ousted elected allies of their hero, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was unseated in a 2006 coup.


Arrest warrants have been issued for many of the top protest leaders and observers say disagreement between the two sides over a possible amnesty is likely to be one of the main sticking points.

Weng denounced the government threats to cut off food, water and power supplies to the rally site where thousands have set up camp.

He called on more protesters to join the rally, and challenged the military to go ahead with a crackdown, saying “if you want another 300, or 3,000 dead bodies please come, but Thailand will be not be the same.”

Source: SGGP