The sound of gunshots rang out as dawn broke over Bangkok’s business district this morning.
Thai troops and armoured vehicles are massing near the fortified entrance to the Red Shirt encampment in what appears to be a fresh offensive to evict anti-government protesters.
Soldiers have reportedly breached barricades, using tear gas and water cannons against the Red Shirts.
Government negotiators have urged the protesters to surrender immediately and end the violence.
Protest leaders have called upon followers to be ready to fight. Witnesses say that two people have already been shot following a gun battle.
Thick black plumes of smoke are billowing above the camp, after protesters set fire to tyre barricades.