Bangkok bloggers are reporting from the city’s barricaded streets, as the long-running dispute between government forces and Red Shirt protesters takes a worrying turn.

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Large areas of the Thai capital are blocked off, with popular shopping and tourist sites turned into no-go areas as Red Shirts and troops face off against each other.

The death toll from the weekend’s clashes has risen to 36, with hundreds more – including foreign visitors – injured.

Among the latest to die was rogue general Khattiya Sawasdipol, 58, known as Seh Daeng, who passed away days after being shot in the head by a sniper.

Seh Daeng was shot on Thursday night during an interview with a foreign reporter near the area where thousands of anti-government protesters have been camped out for weeks.

Thailand-based journalist Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) says the Thai government has told protesters to leave their rally area in Ratchaprasong by 3pm – or face two years in prison.

Women, children sheltering at temple

Barrow says up to 500 women and children have been granted sanctuary by monks at the Pathum Wanaruam Temple near the rally site.

Reporter Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon), who works for Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, says the Thai military is set to make a final push to oust thousands of anti-government protesters from their makeshift homes.

MacKinnon reports that the Thai Red Cross, fearing more violence, has issued an urgent call for blood donations – but that because they are based in the middle of the conflict zone, donors have been unable to reach them.

Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) spent the night holed up in the Dusit Thani hotel, where guests were forced to take shelter in the basement when the building was rocked by an explosion.

Yon says the hotel was not ‘under attack’ as some reports have claimed. “I think it was just bad shooting with the grenade launcher… I do not think we were targeted. Just in a normal war zone.”

The Nation journalist Tulsathit (@tulsathit) says local TV reports claim the luxury hotel was hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

Luxury hotel hit by grenades

He says the Dusit Thani is to close, and all guests have been told to leave.

Many of Bangkok’s embassies, including those of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US, Canada, Japan and Germany have been forced to close because of the unrest.

The Australian embassy has told its citizens in Bangkok to exercise extreme caution, and stay well away from all demonstrations and protest sites, because of the risk that “lethal force” may be used in the street battles.

The UK embassy has warned British citizens to avoid the areas where clashes are known to have taken place, and to use caution because “there is a continued risk that acts of violence could take place outside these areas without warning”.

Richard Barrow’s Bangkok Dangerous map highlights the areas where trouble has broken out, and safe places to shelter in case of further violence.