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Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 11:20 UK

Thai voices: State of emergency

As a state of emergency is declared in Thailand's capital Bangkok, protesters and residents describe the atmosphere in the city.


One protester, a trained doctor who wishes to remain anonymous, treated some of the injured after the clashes last night.

Protesters in Thailand
Protesters remain camped out despite the state of emergency
It has been about seven hours since we knew of the declaration of the state of emergency. Our leaders have tried to call on all the people of Thailand to come out and join the protest so that we have enough people to prevent violence.

We believe that the more people know and join, then we remain safe.

There is apprehension in our minds but the rally-goers also have some confidence that we will eventually win.

Personally, I'm afraid and I'm pessimistic and worried about what might happen. I've been here for about 14 hours and there has been some sporadic violence. I'm a doctor and I came to look after people.

About 5km [3 miles] away from here mobsters - people from another group - came and clashed with PAD supporters. Some people were hit on the head and I was asked to look after them.

The major injuries were taken to hospital straight away but I looked after the people with wounds and lacerations on the head. They couldn't tell me anything about what happened - they were very confused.

I have to go back because I haven't slept for more than 24 hours. I am unable to work properly like this. But I want to support the protesters. I don't trust our prime minister. I feel he is very rude.

For the past 20 years there has been no real democracy in Thailand. Poorer people just want to sell their vote. I see suppression of the media and I am worried that these protests will end violently. It has happened in Thailand before in the 1970s - popular protests ended in a massacre.


Economist Unmuay Sae-hau has been attending the protests in recent days.

Unmae Sae-Hau
Unmae has been attending the rally in recent days
There is a lot of uncertainty. An army commander has been put in charge of the committee for the state of emergency and it is not clear whose side he is on.

The PAD people suspect that there is something fishy going on. The PAD people are a die-hard group. They rise to the challenge. So the state of emergency hasn't quelled anything. My friends and neighbours are just as startled as I am. For a few hours I couldn't get access to television - either there was no image, or a blackout or an image without sound.

Now it is up and running again. People are nervous that the Thai prime minister might win this situation. I will be attending the rally later today. I feel the need to show the protesters moral support. I think there will be safety in numbers.


Student Chatkaew Sriassawakul said her classes were cancelled because of the emergency.

Chatkawe Sriassawakul
My university is situated not far from where the clashes took place and my classes were cancelled this morning due to safety concerns.

In fact, many schools in that area are temporarily closed. Otherwise, the situation seems quite normal in Bangkok but we remain unsure about tomorrow.

I'm staying at home. I'm not going to join the protest because it is too dangerous but I quite agree with their cause. My family and friends also believe that it was not right to call a state of emergency as the situation was not so serious. I think the government just wanted to end the protest.


Student Apilas Kraisitittong thinks the protesters have gone too far.

I just heard about it the emergency this morning. I see that everything is OK right now. But people in Bangkok are worrying about the situation because we are afraid we heard of the clashes and the death of a protester yesterday.

I still do not agree with the protesters. This time I heard from the news that the protesters will call for more from the countryside to join them in Bangkok and that would make a lot of trouble and the political situation to worsen.

I heard that many of my fellow students at the university are going to join the protesters. I expect trouble. I think both sides might provoke each other.





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