Street battles broke out in certain parts of Bangkok between the red-shirted supporters of Takhsin Shinawatra and the police. The riot police have so far exercised restraint, firing only warning shots, but until this morning, over 70 people have been reportedly injured.
No one is sure how long this anti-Abhisit Vejjajiva protest will last although his officials have predicted it would end in the next few days. Takhsin has called for a people's revolution to oust Abhisit, saying he was the legitimate PM.
I spoke to my Bangkok based colleague, Philip Golingai, a short while ago and he said the perception among the people is that the security forces do not want to clamp down too hard on the protestors, preferring to avoid a bloodshed. He saw two buses being overturned by the protestors but the policemen merely stood and watched.
Although an emergency has been declared, the army has preferred to stay away from the streets, letting the police to do the work. Some have said that the days of Abhisit are numbered. Some have even said he has become a lame duck PM with his orders now ignored by the army.
Even if the manages to ride through the anarchy, the political damages from the short-lived Asean summit would dealt a serious blow to him. The cancellation is unprecedented. It has a major let down and reports of leaders having to leave Pattaya by helicopter has become an international diplomatic fiasco.