Bangkok: A major Thai hospital evacuated
hundreds of patients and suspended all but emergency surgery
on Friday after anti-government protesters stormed in to hunt for
security forces they suspected were taking positions there
overlooking their barricaded enclave.
A group of the so-called Red Shirts barged into
Chulalongkorn Hospital late yesterday despite pleas from its
director, then withdrew after not finding soldiers or police
within the sprawling compound.
The brief raid was a public relations black eye for the
Red Shirts, who insist they are simply peaceful protesters
trying to overthrow a government they see as illegitimate,
although the seven-week standoff in the capital has already
sparked the country`s worst political violence in nearly two
Protest leaders struggled to make amends for the hospital
raid, apologising, promising to leave the facility alone and
removing some of the barricades blocking it as a gesture of
But the Red Shirts later put the barricades back in place
and missed a meeting with hospital administrators to discuss
how to keep the patients and staff safe.
The Red Shirts, drawn mostly from the rural and urban
poor, are demanding the dissolution of Parliament and new
elections, saying Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva came to
power through the connivance of Bangkok`s elite bureaucrats
and the military.