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Thai Military Begins Drive to Retake Protest Site in Bangkok

Red-shirt protesters defiantly set fires behind their barricades

Thai troops are pushing into an anti-government protest camp in central Bangkok after recent attempts at talks failed. The protesters responded by setting fires within their barricades.

The operation began at dawn Wednesday with hundreds of police and soldiers moving toward the Rajaprasong protest camp.

Near the financial district on Silom Road, the military called on protesters to stand down and fired warning shots toward the camp.

Red-shirt protesters defiantly set fires behind their barricades. Black plumes of smoke were seen over the city.

Issara is a security officer at the nearby Pan Pacific Hotel and is acting as an emergency medical officer.

"They try to clear the Rajasprasong [camp] of [for] a few days before the army go inside. We prepare everything for to help everyone who got injured in this area," he said.

On Monday, the government rejected the protesters' offer to negotiate. The government says it will talk after the red shirts, who have demanded new elections, end the protests they began in March.