BANGKOK — Police announced on Friday morning Ratchaprasong Intersection and several roads in the same vicinity will be sealed off from traffic at 2pm onward, just hours ahead of a new anti-government protest set to take place there at 5pm.
Deputy metropolitan police chief Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek said Ratchadamri Road will be closed from Ratchadamri to Pratunam intersections, while the Chidlom-Ratchaprasong stretch of Ploenchit Road will be shut down as well, starting 2pm.
It is unclear whether Skytrain services in the area will also be affected by the shutdown order.
The closure appears to be a drastic attempt to block what could turn out to be the largest protest against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha in months. Using social media for coordination, netizens opposed to the government vowed to stage a rally at Ratchaprasong Intersection at 5pm.
A similar impromptu protest on Thursday night drew at least 25,000 people – some believe the number to be higher – and even more people were expected to join the protest on Friday evening.
Bangkok is currently under the Severe State of Emergency imposed by PM Prayut on Thursday, giving the security officers a broad power to ban gatherings, close down areas, search individuals without warrants, and censor any media coverage deemed to cause unrest.