Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25: Protest Day in Egypt

Twitpic by Mahmoud El-Nahas @M_Na7as of Egypt

The Guardian reports that Egypt is braced for "day of revolution," tweeting that "Democracy activists, Islamists, workers & football fans demand reform."

Adam Makary is a producer for Al Jazeera English who says the protesters' demands are "protester's demands: increase in minimum wage, dismissal of interior ministry, removal of emergency law, shorten presidential term" Adam adds that "outside of cairo, jan25 protests will also take place in mahalla, tanta, alexandria, ismalia, sohag, fayoum and mansoura." You can follow him
on Twitter.

Twitter tips:
  • The hashtag is #jan25, or try city names, such as #Cairo or #Alex.
  • @Dktr_Sus is live-retweeting, a good person to follow.
  • Our list of English-speaking journalists and citizen reporters on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria is here
Update 1:
  • Seems Egyptian security forces/police were unprepared for the size of the protest.   
  • If you're in Egypt trying to break the block on Twitter, Hossam (3arabawy) who has been providing important updates from Alexandria, recommends  to use the proxy 
  • Ahram online has great photos and an hour-by-hour summary of events during the protest of Jan. 25.     
  • Another problem facing citizen reporters is lack of mobile network access.  Alshaheeed suggests "All who live close 2 Tahrir square asked 2 unlock their wifi passwords so public use their internet instead of mobile coverage"
  • To learn about other techniques for accessing Twitter from Egypt, see the end of this post. 
Update 2:
  • I've posted some remarkable videos by citizen journalists here
Update 3:
  • Find links to Global Voices coverage (more videos, photos, Egyptian blogger reactions) at a page titled Egypt Protests 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Demonstrations support Bradley Manning in Washington and Quantico, VA

On 17 Jan 2011, On Martin Luther King Jr. Day about one hundred rallied outside the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building to protest the detainment of Bradley Manning and the "criminalization of dissent."   Manning is believed to be charged in connection with the unauthorized release of two Iraq War helicopter attack videos and 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks.   Participants at the rally included FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley and retired CIA officer Ray McGovern.

Jotman blogged the protest outside the FBI building in Washington D.C. (above photo). More photos  here.

William Hughes (website) interviewed Ray McGovern and Coleen Rowley outside the FBI building:

After short speeches by defenders of the First Amendment, protesters joined a caravan to Marine Corps Base Quantico where military authorities have been holding Bradley Manning for eight months in solitary confinement.

Civil libertarians have described the conditions of Manning's detainment as inhumane and unlawful, particularly in view of the fact Manning has not been convicted of anything. The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, has submitted a formal inquiry to the Department of State about Manning's treatment.  

On July 5, 2010 Manning was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for transferring classified data onto his personal computer and communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source. Chat logs disclosed by Adrian Lamo, a former hacker and convicted criminal who has recently received psychiatric treatment, suggest that Bradley Manning had admitted to being the "leaker" of materials obtained by WikiLeaks.

The following video from the Quantico base in Virginia (about an hour from DC) was produced by David Swanson. Swanson, who blogs at warisacrime, comments: "It is a crime to witness felonies and stay silent; Manning didn't."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Student protests in Italy

A NYTimes reader comments (via Adbusters):
There has been totally anarchy today in Rome, only fire, tear gas and streetfights. People burning cars, police’s vans, rubbish, more than 100 000 students, immigrants, people from Aquila, people fired up at work because of the politics who don’t substain their industries…1500 cops, everything blocked by the Guardia di finanza, and every kind of army force. People that has came from all over the country. Political leaders have had to stay into the parliament defendend from people who wanted to reach them from the streets all around there. We are quiet like in a dictstorship. A policeman had tried to take his gun to front the aggressions and had been stopped in time.Students have errupted in the Stock exchange today in Milan. We, the students have started our protest almost two years ago, it has all intensified in these 3 months, we have blocked train stations like in Milan, Venice, Padua, Pisa, and many more…we have blocked higways like Bologna, Salerno…Universities are occupied by students, there are manifestations everyday in our cities, we have reached our monuments, we are trying to let us be listened by institutions, but no one cares about us. We aren’t yet only students now, people is enjoying us. We are fighting not against a simple educational legislative act, we are fighting against our sick system: we can’t find jobs, we don’t have any kind of agevolation for families, for living by ourselves, only depending from the people you know a career can come. We don’t have information, we don’t have cultural and social possibilities, all the best of us have to go away from the country, everything is corrupted, everyone is corrupted…and at least, thanks the Vatican for not paying any kind of taxes…I think we are at the break point. Please Help us in keeping attention. Excuses for the english but we are still fighting and we haven’t time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stampede in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Azuriel, posting on the bulletin board at expat-advisory.com, left an eyewitness report of the deadly stampede in Phnom Penh that has taken hundreds of lives:
November 23, 2010 - 3:06am
Just arrived back home after the missus and I spent some 4 hours stuck on Koh Pich ... we were just about to cross back to the mainland from the island when the stampede started, and police started cordoning the area off ... total chaos' prolly the best way to describe it ...

spent most of my 4 hours trying to help out, inclusing performing CPR on 4 girls that got fished out of the river ... unfortunately only managed to revive 2 of them ... ( ... of the other 2, only 1 had a pulse when they rushed her to hospital, but nevertheless, hope the ambulance crews managed to do more than my meagre first aid skills ...

From talking to the locals, some of the security and event management staff, and first-hand experience, I gather the following chain of events occurred; not sure these events occurred in this order though, but it's close:
  • about 30-odd people were electrocuted (few direct deaths, but many losing consciousness, suffering severe burns) from contact with the metal guard rails on either side of the bridge ...
  • about a dozen people fainted from the crush of the crowd, heat exhaustion, dehydration, or a combination of these, and fell underfoot ...
  • Crowd panicked from the electrocutions and surged into a stampede; More people tripped or got pushed over, and got trampled underfoot ...
  • People started jumping off the bridge into the river below to escape the mob; some were electrocuted climbing over the railings; some died from jumping into shallow water, or missing the water altogether, and landing on the concrete escarpments. One of the girls I performed CPR on had a nasty gash stretching from her collarbone down to just past her belly button ... not bleeding too badly, but was still a pain to patch up half-decently ...
  • Curious onlookers surged towards the bridge from both ends trying to find out what was going on. POLICE WERE VERY FORCEFULLY PUSHING BYSTANDERS BACK, USING FISTS, BATONS, PISTOLS, AND PIECES OF METAL PIPING!!! ==>> AND IN PARTICULAR, SHAME SHAME SHAME ON THE BIG BLACK GUY WITH THE AMERICAN ACCENT THAT PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED MY WIFE AND I, NOT ONCE BUT TWICE: WHEN I TRACK DOWN YOUR DETAILS, I'LL BE USING ALL MY POLICE AND LEGAL CONTACTS TO PRESS CHARGES!! <<== Wish more foreigners could've put their energies into helping the wounded, as opposed to bashing up on the innocent bystanders ...
  • Some police near the Koh Pich end of the bridge fired warning shops to try to disperse the crowd, but it only served to set off a 2nd panic, since no-one at that stage knew who was shooting, nor at who or what ...
  • The crowd was warned to stay away from the metal guard rails along the easter edge of Koh Pich, for fear of electrocution. Around the same time, all the neon lights on the bridge were turned off, along with most of the street lamps along the eastern shore of the island.
As of 3am on Tuesday morning, the official death toll sits at 332 deaths, and 329 injured ... a moment of silence please ...  ironically, the bayon TV concert a couple of hundred metres away blasted on throughout all of this ...  

This video was shot on the morning of Nov. 23, showing the debris from the stampede:

More on the tragedy at Jot ASEAN.

Monday, November 15, 2010

John Tyner video of TSA at San Diego International

John Tyner, a California man who elected not to be subjected to either an Backscatter X-ray scan or a full-body search (the latter which would have included allowing an official to touch his crotch), was detained by TSA officials at San Diego International Airport. The TSA officials later advised John Tyner that -- despite his having agreed to relinquish his ticket -- he faced the prospect of a $10,000 fine.

CNN covered the story -- see here.   Unfortunately, the CNN hosts discussing the story provide a distorted interpretation of the passenger's dilemma.    When John Tyner discovered that the alternative to the X-ray was a full body search, Tyner reconciled himself to the fact that he would not be allowed to board the plane.

The incident raises serious questions that deserve more than a snicker from a couple of CNN hosts:  Having agreed to relinquish his plane ticket, on what sensible grounds should John Tyner face the prospect of a hefty fine?   Do actual risks to the traveling public justify the indignities of forcing the public to endure humiliating full-body searches?  Are evasive body searches constitutional without "probable cause?"

Fortunately, we don't have to rely on smug CNN commentary.  We can read about the encounter at JohnnyEdge, John Tyner's blog, where the would-be air traveller and citizen-journalist posted thirty minutes of video.   John writes:
These events took place roughly between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, November 13th in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport. I'm writing this approximately 2 1/2 hours after the events transpired, and they are correct to the best of my recollection. I will admit to being particularly fuzzy on the exact order of events when dealing with the agents after getting my ticket refunded; however, all of the events described did occur.   I had my phone recording audio and video of much of these events. It can be viewed below.
At some US airports, the alternative to a full-body pat-down is stepping into a Backscatter X-ray scanner machine.   The professed safety of Backscatter X-ray machines is questioned by some scientists.  They claim that although the overall radiation dose appears low (when it is calculated relative to the total volume of a person's body), targeted areas of the body (i.e. the skin) receive a focused dose of radiation. "While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high," wrote a group of American scientists in a Open Letter to President Obama.   Hence, travelers concerned about the risk of radiation have no choice but to submit to having some of America's lowest paid federal workers touch them anywhere.

Incidentally, an American serviceman serving in Afghanistan recently commented that TSA rules can compel American women and children to undergo a more invasive body search than an American soldier can require of Afghan women and children in near proximity to a battlefield.  

John Tyner's experience provides a wake-up call to the long-term implications of TSA security theatre.    If citizens consent to allowing government officials the right to touch any part of their bodies without "probably cause" in airports, in the future, what invasions of privacy and person will Americans not accept?   Where do they draw the line?  Is there still a line?   What--if any-- of their rights are Americans not willing to relinquish in return for the perception of greater security? 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Students march on Conservative Party HQ in London

When fifty-thousand UK students marched to protest the Conservative government’s cuts to education, the news media only wanted to talk about the violence.

Foreign news media headlines labeled the massive student protest outside Conservative Party headquarters in London simply as "violent."  That wasn't the whole story, as the firsthand accounts of there-live bloggers reveal.

Matt, who has is usually there-live blogging major events in Thailand and East Timor, was on the scene of  the massive protest in London today.   Matt details where the protests got out of hand, and comments:
"The world's media has picked up on the story and of course the violence is what has made the headlines and provided the photo fodder. National Union of Students President Aaron Porter condemned the violence, which really put a dampener on what had otherwise been a positive day.

As I left at about 6 pm, the numbers had dwindled considerably, although some diehards were still milling about and a few were staging some kind of sit-down protest...."
You can read Matt's entire account of the protests, including photos and a video, at his blog, The Lost Boy.

Socialist Worker and the Guardian extensively live-blogged the protests.   Socialist Worker lists a number of additional there-live reports at the end of their main account of the protest.   The Guardian provides a concise summary of the day's events.

Experienced live-loggers are saying that today's protest, large as it was, was just a taste of things to come.   For example, Lenin of Lenin's Tomb,  a blogger who has covered previous UK demonstrations, writes,
"It reminds me a bit of the anticapitalist demos in London at the turn of 2000s, in terms of its militancy, and the fact that it happened in the middle of the week - but it's actually much bigger than any of those protests was.... And not a moment too soon, because if the Tories get their way then higher education is finished for millions of working class people."
For an analysis of the UK government's budget-slashing mania, see  "British Fashion Victims" by American economist Paul Krugman.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 election in Burma

On Nov. 7 Myanmar's military rulers held the country's first election in twenty years. Because parties backed by the military are assured of victory, it's unclear whether the outcome of the vote will make any difference to ordinary Burmese. As the NY Times puts it, "The process was expected to cement military rule behind a civilian facade but also to open the door slightly to possible shifts in the dynamics of power." Foreign journalists have not been allowed to cover the election, and some Western diplomats in Rangoon are refusing to participate in junta-sponsored tours of polling stations.
  • Pollard's photos of a protest against the election in London.
  • Photos of a protest held in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border.
  • Reuters live-blog of the elections. 
The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has a fantastic live-updating map tracking developments across Burma relating to the election.  Incidents of violence, arrests, coercion, harassment are presented as color-coded tabs which you can click on to read a report.   Another such interactive tool is Burma Partnership's election tracker.  

DVB has also posted a video secretly taken from inside a Burmese polling station, along with several other election day clips.  Blogger Newley has links to background and analysis.

Tweets to follow:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jon Stewart rally to restore sanity with Stephen Colbert

Tens of thousands gathered on the Mall in Washington D.C. on Saturday, heeding a call by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to  "restore sanity" and "keep fear alive."   Jotman was there taking photos and talking to people.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

10-02 rally on the Mall in Washington D.C.

On Saturday, various unions, churches, minority, environmental and gay rights groups staged a massive rally in Washington D.C..  The sponsors of the rally, called "One Nation Working Together," had billed it as the largest coming together of different groups ever on the Mall.

Jotman was there.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

National police lead Ecuador coup attempt

In  an alleged attempted coup d'état, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was taken hostage in a hospital by police officers as part of a series of protests against cuts to the benefits of public service workers that were part of a financial austerity package.
  • Twitter sources @incakolanews and @BinaBecker provided low-by blow coverage in English.
  • Cobertura Digital provides a list of Twitter sources Reporting on the Equador Crisis in Spaninsh.

Ramirez looks at how Ecuador bloggers have tried to make sense of the event in its aftermath.  In a concise post, Rick B provides some background information that may raise questions.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Big rally on the mall in Washington DC

Jotman was there live in Washington DC Saturday, blogging both the Al Sharpton march and the Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Protests in Chile to save Punta de Choros

Historiauv reports that Tuesday the Regional Environmental Commission (COREMA) of the Coquimbo Region approved Franco-Belgian Suez Energy's bid to build a coal-fired thermoelectric power plant at Chungungo cove near the town of La Higuera.  It's to be built just south of the historic Punta de Choros, a region famous for marine ecological diversity. 

Silvia Viñas blogs that the Chilean president Sebastián Piñera's had promised to, “oppose all thermoelectric plants that seriously undermine nature, communities and quality of life.”

The project is said to pose a threat to the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve, consisting of three islands located off Punta de Choros.  The islands are also home to seabirds, a colony of bottlenose dolphins and migrating whales.  There is a marine reserve around the archipelago. 

Around noon 500 people demonstrated in the center of Coquimbo, a port city.    In Santiago the environmental group Pescao Chao convened a protest today at the corner of Alameda and Ahumada. Gonzalo Rocker (6 twitpic) was there live at Ahumada in Santiago.  He took photos of  police using water cannons to disperse a large crowd of peaceful protesters. There were demonstrators in other other parts of the country, most notably in Valparaiso at the Plaza Sotomayor.     

Other power plants are planned for the coast of Chile that threaten other spectacular natural spots, for example the Los Robles energy project to be developed on the coast of the Maule region, close to the sea lions of Loanco, wetlands, and the Reloca Frederick Albert National Reserve. (maulee!)

Astu Science has been following the controversy on his blog, and posts this video:

Twitter: #Termoeléctrica

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Effects of Pakistan floods of 2010

In addition to the sources mentioned in the previous post, Dave has been live-blogging the impact of the floods.

Dave's Landslide Blog, Update on the disasters in China and Pakistan (11 Aug),  Update on China and Pakistan (13 Aug), and Pakistan flood update (15 Aug)

Dave suggests that after the initial flooding, two further dangers threaten Pakistan:

1.  A second wave of flooding.
The danger must be that the second flood wave starts to catch up with, and build upon, the stalled first wave.  This would create the potential for an extremely damaging second phase of floods.  It took six days for the first wave to pass from Taunsa to Guddu, and a further day to Sukkur.  The hope must be that the water level starts to fall quickly at these two sites before the second wave arrives.

Unfortunately, it is clear that this slow motion disaster has several more weeks to go, even if there is no further heavy rain. 
2.  Coping with devastation
The sheer magnitude of the disaster in Pakistan is difficult to comprehend.  Unfortunately the true horror of this event is probably remaining hidden; the real impact will come when the water levels in the south subside to leave polluted water wells, destroyed homes and wrecked crops.  The legacy of this disaster will be long-lasting, and will have a profound impact on Pakistan and elsewhere.
Denver Post, Captured in flooded Pakistan - selected photojournalism

How to donate?  Medicins Sans Frontiers  is providing emergency medical care to flood victims in Pakistan via mobile clinics and health centers in all four provinces affected  as well as sanitation equipment, water, drugs and medical material to displaced persons. You can donate online or by phone.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pakistan floods of 2010

Al Jazeera reports that More than a million people have been affected by massive flooding in Pakistan.

Robert Mackey, Eyewitness video to the floods

Weaver, Pakistan flood live updates

Fires burn across Russia

It's quite amazing that mainstream media in the west are failing to provide good stories with the Russia fire situation. Half of the country, most of its populated part, is on fire. Some pics and videos are quite apocalyptic in nature.  For example,
  • Here's a scary video - just some folks trying to drive through the burning area.
  • This video shows a wildfire seen approaching the town of Vykza.
People are basically trying to organize themselves - bloggers seem to be of some help in coordinating that activity. For instance, i-cherski.  
Another blogger, Vollove on 07.29 attempted to join some volunteers and help fight the fire near Vykza. Here is a short summary of his report which included pictures:
  • We arrive on the scene. Wait for 20-30. There's a lot of volunteers around. There is a fire engine, some trucks and buses. Our gear looks ridiculous.
  • Suddenly it gets absolutely dark, even though it's an afternoon. Suddenly there's a strong wind and all the air is gone - can't breathe. We see the flames over the tops of the trees. It's moving fast. We realize it's hopeless to attempt anything against this force. Firefighters yell "run!"
  • We run. It gets dark and hot, and no air. Some burning crap is flying around. Can't run. Finally reach the cars. Some folks are missing - can't wait. We try to drive. Can't see anything. One of the cars crashes - folks join us. Somehow manage to get out of there, but it still feels like hell all around. 
  • At home, we start packing stuff, just in case.
See also this report which includes links to maps.
Report by JOTMAN.COM contributor Sanjuro. 

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Aftermath of Bangkok crackdown and fires of May 19, 2010

    Newley, Rajaprasong aftermath: images from today (New)

    Legal Nomads, Bangkok: Aftermath & Cleanup

    ClaudioAfter the dispersal- Part 2- May 19th, Before Departure- May 20th, Long night- May 20th, and Free Zone- May 21st

    I walk down Ratchadamri road. The place is surreal and feels haunted. For the first time since I came to Thailand I can hear the twitter of birds in this area, normally covered by the noises of traffic and for the last month by the broadcasted speeches. The place feel like the people living in it just disappeared suddenly.
    Andrew Marshall, Voices from the Aftermath
    The protesters were dejected, anxious, and exhausted. They were also defiant. “They got us out of here,” said Puwanai Sorabud, 40, a tour guide returning to the northern town of Chiang Rai, “but that doesn’t mean they’ve won. They can’t fight this many voices.”

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    May 19: Thailand crackdown and the burning of Bangkok

    The Thai capital is now enveloped in smoke.  Throughout the city, shopping malls, movie theaters, banks, and media organizations have caught fire and some have burned to the ground. There have been many explosions and shootings. It would appear that journalists are being targeted by red shirts. "Black shirt" snipers roam the streets. Soldiers have been instructed to shoot anyone causing disorder. Some Bangkok residents have begun to evacuate the city. Other residents are prisoners of their homes, many going without electricity.

    In the northern city of Chiang Mai soldiers have opened fire on people gathered on a bridge. In the large northeastern town of Udon Thani, protesters have taken over the government building.  France 24 reports that "Along with the province of Ubon Ratchathani (its capital is of the same name), 21 other provinces (out of the country's 76) have been placed under a state of emergency. Most of them are in the northeast of the country, the heartland of the Red Shirts."

    As always, blue indicates those who blogged events live in real time, red indicates persons reporting "there live" from the streets.

    Mong Palatino, Thailand: arson in Bangkok, protests spread to other provinces (New)

    Bangkok Pundit, Breaking: Military move in on protest site UDPATE: LIVE BLOG

    Jotman, Bangkok is burning: live-blogging May 19 - many firsthand twitter reports, sorted by time and topic.

    New Mandala community, Burning, curfew

    Thai Report, hourly timeline, videos

    Reuters, Timeline of May 19, Live-blog Bangkok 

    Keng, A paramedic’s account of the 19 May slaughter - "Bullets were fired right at the medical tent, Keng said." (New) 

    Andrew BuncombeEyewitness: Under fire in Thailand - "I cannot believe they are shooting in a temple." (New)

    Steve TicknerAustralian reporter hides out in Buddhist temple (New) -

    Mark MacKinnon, The revolution shall be tweeted (New),  In a Bangkok Temple, the groans of the wounded shot seeking sanctuary (New) - "... a place of death and terror as perhaps 1,500 civilians huddled inside." 

    Bangkok Post, Unholly night in the temple compound (New)

    Florian "Flo", A Dark 19 of May  - "a group of six red shirts chased me, threw me off my motorbike and tried to get the camera."

    New Mandala, Ubon Ratchathani  red shirt protests turn violent  - "Suddenly two loud explosions were heard and the crowd very quickly did an about face and came running back to the main protest site."

    Simon Roughneen, Bangkok Eyewitness – hardcore protestors run amok as army moves in

    Nirmal GhoshThai army moves in, slowly and Showdown at Ratchaprasong - "... the state of affairs at the epicenter at Ratchaprasong, will remain engraved in the memory of many for years to come, and have a deep bearing on the future of Thailand."

    Claudio, After the dispersal - May 19 part 1- "In red painting, a haunting but polite question: “Father, where are you?

    Memock, Ubon Ratchathani Provincial Office gutted by fire, "Red Shirts" still fighting, burn down city hall  - "...the protestors also set fire to this fire engine as it was on its way to the scene."

    Thilo Thielke The day the Thai army moved in (via GJBKK) - "Snipers from a side street were targeting us..." (New)

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Soldiers firing on protesters in Bangkok

    As always, red indicates persons physically "there live" at the scene, blue those who blogged an event live in real time.  If you know of firsthand reports that ought to be included, please let us know.

    Events of Thursday May 13 
    Nation's State,  Clashes in Bangkok - "Seh Deang at 6:33 PM on May 13th."
    Thomas Fuller, The Furry outside my window  - eyewitness to shooting of Gen. Khattiya (Seh Daeng)
    Bangkok PunditThe Blockade - Live Blog 
    Jotman, Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol shot in Bangkok

    Events of Friday May 14 
    Nation's State,  Clashes in Bangkok
    Florian (Flo), The Beginning of a long Crackdown "Red Shirt was moving away from the soldiers while he got shot through his knee right a few meters in front of me."
    Claudio, Sathorn Road- May 14th, Update from Sathorn- May 14th 
    Mong Palatino, Protest blockade ends in violence
    Bangkok Pundit, The Blockade Day 2 - Live Blog
    Jotman, At least three journalists shot in Bangkok clashes
    Events of Saturday May 15 
    Nation's State, Live fire zone - the term that was most often used was 'civil war' (สงครามกลางเมือง)
    Nick Nostitz, Nick Nostitz in the killing zone - Thai soldiers shoot red shirts armed only with sling-shots
    Claudio, Update Ngan-Dumphli May 15th and Ngan-Dumphli/Rama IV- May 15th 
    Bangkok Pundit,  Liveblogging Bangkok - Day 3 
    Mong Palatino, Bangkok clashes

    Events of Sunday May 16 

    Nation's StateBangkok burns - " Shots rang out periodically all day and there were many injuries and likely some deaths."
    Claudio,  Around Bon Kai and Klong Toei- May 16th 
    Florian (Flo), Protesters Crackdown 16th May - Bangkok "open war zone" live bullets, tires burning. 
    Patrick Winn, StreetLife: Bangkok — The taste of turmoil
    Bangkok Pundit CNN on army snipers - any sightings of armed red shirts?

    Events of Monday May 17
    Claudio,  Victory Monument and snipers- May 17th
    Mong Palatino, Thailand: Red Shirt protesters remain defiant

    Events of Tuesday May 18
    Nation's StateWeapons of the weak - "...the first and only time I have ever seen a weapon of war."
    Nirmal Ghosh, Distant thunder in Thailand - black ninja ... samurai sword...

    Throughout the week
    Timelines:  The concise, day-by-day and hour-by-hour timelines on the homepage of Thai Report deserve a special mention.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Army blockade of red shirt protesters in Bangkok

    Bangkok Pundit, Asian Correspondent, The Blockade - Live Blog
    NYT reports that Seh Daeng shot while being interviewed by IHT.

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    Immigration protest at the White House

    Thousands of Americans gathered in a peaceful protest in Washington DC Saturday against the discriminatory immigration law passed last week in Arizona.  Forty people were arrested including one congressman from Illinois.   

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Deadly April 22 grenade bombings in Bangkok


    Andrew Marshall, AndrewMarshall.com, Thais love peace
    ....The editorial in today’s Bangkok Post warns of civil war.  A month ago I might have laughed off that idea. But as the chaos last night showed, Thailand is now so volatile that the security situation can change rapidly and dramatically. Silom Road, the busy office and shopping district where the Patpong night market is located, was almost unrecognizable to me. A thousand or more heavily armed troops occupied the shuttered road and its ill-lit side-streets. Ambulances raced in and out, sirens screaming, past coils of razor wire. Drunken protesters combed the garbage-strewn pavements for bottles to hurl at the reds.

    I was struck by the sight of some women crossing the road in that stoop-and-run style you associate with sniper alleys, not shopping areas. Silom: twinned with Sarajevo....
    Nation's State, The Nation's State, Scenes from Silom April 22
    ....I arrived after the M79 grenades had exploded. ... When I arrived, mob violence by PAD (yellow shirts, multicolored shirts, or whatever name they are using today) was in full swing and they were again setting upon people they suspected were reds.

    Yet violence mostly raged between the PAD and the red frontline. Both sides fought spiritedly and the sound of breaking bottles, breaking windows, vulgar insults, and thousands of metal pieces of debris ricocheting off walls, cars, and signs was non-stop.  

    Police were doing nothing....

    Flo, Viator, Silom Clashes (22. April)
    Shortly after the explosions at the BTS Station several clashes happened and atmosphere got very intense. At the end police is in control again and cracking down anti-red protesters. Here are ten minutes of my 70min Video-footage...
    Newley, Newley.com, Explosions in Silom

    ...images from the time I spent at Silom last night. I arrived not long after what authorities say was an M79 grenade exploded near the Dusit Thani hotel, in an area where pro-government demonstrators had been rallying....

    Bangkok Pundit, Asian Correspondent, Silom under attack

    Jotman, JOTMAN.COM, Explosions kill three in Bangkok, foreigners among injured

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Thai protesters and army at Silom, Bangkok

    Events of April 19-21


    New Mandala Reader, New Mandala, Silom 21 April
    These pictures were 21 April around 6-7pm. As I crossed from the Government controlled Silom Road to Red Controlled Ratchadamri, I noticed a large difference between the two crowds. The yellow side proceeded to symbolically burn some red clothing... This created a cloud of smoke and a sort of frenzy as people ran towards the burning red shirt while shouting loudly.  Pro-Government supporters were going wild shouting obscenities at the reds..... I then walked over to the red side where they were continuously constructing their encampment out of tires and sharpened bamboo. I crossed through to a much quieter environment where a gentleman with a huge smile presented my friend with a red clapper. She was visiting for the first time and loved it. The environment on the red side was actually quite relaxed compared to the activities taking place accross the street...
    Ton Joh, Thai-FAQ,  Is a crackdown on the red protesters imminent?“, video narrative shot on location  between April 20-21.
    April 20:  "Mood not festive...  extremely tense...  Seen a lot of guys at security checkpoints with sharpened bamboo sticks...  a lot of uncomfortable stares from local Thai people... they've got spotlights searching the buildings for snipers... "
    Nirmal, Straits TimesFlashpoint Silom, 22 April
    But passions seemed high on the part of the flag-waving pro-government crowd, and their numbers were steadily growing. Sensing the mood, I tweeted that Sala Daeng was an accident waiting to happen.

    Later, I watched it unfold. There was little satisfaction in having been right.
    ....around 10pm, the mood appeared to settle as many people left. I was on the point of heading home when some rowdy men began to get out of hand, running out into the intersection threateningly.

    I saw the precise moment when the riot started. At around 11pm, some of the pro-government demonstrators were running out into the intersection taunting the Reds, and then one finally let fly with a large stone. That of course was the signal for a barrage of stones and bottles from the pro-government mob.
    The Nation State,  Yellow Lynch Mob, 21 April
    ...The yellow mob (and i do mean to use the word mob rather than protesters) had worked themselves up into a frothing anger while their leaders were exchanging taunts over loudspeakers with the opposing red camp.

    Pitched battles broke out in which both reds and yellows threw bottles and traded sling-shot rounds. Ball bearings, marbles, and other metal objects caused a number of injuries. I was hit in the forehead by a marble shot from the yellow side.

    Then the situation became more violent and truly ugly.

    The yellows began attacking people near them they suspected of being red shirts. An older motorcycle taxi driver, a young man claiming to be a off-duty soldier, a Thai journalist caught carrying a UDD membership card, and a somewhat ignorant Western tourist who was on the way the the Sala Deang BTS station.

    The yellows punched, kicked, spit, scratched, and broke bottles over their victims heads.

    They also threatened the press who were filming their violence. They accused us of not filming the 'right' violence and aggressively tried to tell us to stop filming them and go to the other side to film the reds....
    Derk Wiken, New Mandala, More scenes from the stand-off in Bangkok on 21 April

    ...It was dark and there seemed to be only one entrance/exit. In hindsight it was a bit scary as the reds had built up their barricades and would not let their own people out. I overheard a guard telling a lady as much...


    Patrick Winn, Global Post, Bamboo Battlements in the Heart of Bangkok, 21 April
    ...Behind the bamboo wall, there's an air of gleeful irreverence. The protesters are proudly working class -- many wear T-shirts reading "Commoner!" in Thai -- and they seem to revel in the David-vs.-Goliath nature of their fight. They've even broken up bits of brick and sidewalk cement to use as projectiles in case of a military crackdown. Fireworks and paper lanterns were sent into the sky to confuse military helicopters. ...

    Nirmal, Vortex of Emotion, 21 April
    ...At the outer perimeter of the red shirt camp at Ratchaprasong, the black-clad guards were seriously checking everyone and every vehicle heading in – and I mean serious. They were alert and firm but polite, and very professional.
    Newley, Red shirts and pro-government demonstrators in Silom, 21 April
    ....The anti-government “no color” demonstrators, meanwhile (see the last image below), were positioned on the Silom side of the intersection. They expressed their dislike for the red shirts, and collected money among themselves to buy water and food for the troops.

    These “no colors” told me they love the king, and that Thaksin and the red shirts want to create a Thai republic...
    Contributor, New Mandala, Scenes from Sala Daeng, 20 April


    The Nation's State, 4:30 AM on 19 April at Silom
    Rumors were rampant that a military crackdown against the red shirts was due at 4am.

    Just after 4, troops rolled down Silom and took up position on the pedestrian bridge aiming their rifles at protesters.
    Seven Winds, Seven Winds, In the Eye of the Storm
    ... I will support the police and soldiers and carry on my daily life and not let the protesters change my way of life. I'm going to support McDonald's and DoiTung and make sure they don't lose any revenue. I saw a lady giving coffee and drink certificates to the soldiers from the local businesses and lots of smiles and thanks from the people who work here. I recall last time, it was this neighborhood coming out against the red shirts that was one of the reasons that forced them from taking over the Chongnosi/Sathorn intersection. See my post on this incident last year. I believe that it will happen again if the reds try to move into this neighborhood once more.  
    David Streckfuss, Bangkok Pundit, The reds are in Bangkok, but what is happening in the Northeast?
    ....Villages throughout the 2,000 villages of Khon Kaen each have at least one red shirt group. Each group drums up the funds and organizes transportation. Each group met first at the provincial hall in Khon Kaen to register, and with much fanfare, cheers, and blowing of horns, off they went to join the protests in Bangkok. Tonight, the first bus’s engine is idling, waiting for it to fill up. Numerous pick-up trucks looked geared up to go as well. On the night of the 10th, the day of great carnage, 850 registered and joined their friends and relatives in Bangkok.

    Aftermath of April 10 violent street battle in Bangkok


    In the beginning it was more of an open street party. Now it is developing into something like an independent village in the heart of the city. People are installing themselves more comfortably, and the infrastructure is developing. The markets are getting diverse; the selection of street food is getting better by the day; the number of tents, shelters, street pharmacies, open air massage parlors and so on are increasing constantly. I even heard the red leaders calling the area “Ratchaprasong Resort”.

    Anonymous, New Mandala, Red Shirts in Chiang Mai
    ....Increasingly they tell me they are ‘sua khaaw’ (white shirts), indicating that they have joined the still amorphous group of expanding Thais seeking to occupy unaligned political space between the Red and Yellow poles.  What’s more, the University crowd, with whom I spend most of my time, are readily apathetic to politics in general, their almost universal refrain to any political enquiry being ‘naa bua’ (boring).

    The most obvious sign of the Red presence is the faithful who gather daily outside the Worarot Hotel, the headquarters of Chiang Mai’s Red Shirt movement.  And though the numbers have been little more than a few dozen on the occasions I have visited since the rally began, the Red Shirt supporters up here are not to be underestimated.  Earlier last week a local newspaper reported that four members of the core Chiang Mai Red Shirt group, ‘Rak Chiang Mai 51’ (Love Chiang Mai ‘08), had been sentenced to 20-years imprisonment for the (bashing) murder of the elderly father of a local Yellow Shirt community-radio operator in 2008.  In February 2009, the group forcibly shut down a local gay pride parade, later citing as justification that such activities contravened traditional northern ‘Lanna’ culture.  This appeal to an essentialised Lanna identity has become part of the regular discourse of some of the group’s more eloquent spokespeople.

    It was with little surprise then that amidst the flurry of blogs, twitters, posts etc that were keeping internet users updated on events in Bangkok last night, reports emerged of Red Shirts storming the Provincial Hall in Chiang Mai.  It was against this background that I decided to go along and see for myself what exactly was taking place, frustrated at the lack of coverage either in the Bangkok or local Chiang Mai press.

    Nick Nostitz, New Mandala, Mourning and defiance

     The day after the clashes, April 11, I walked the two sites of the battles – Thanon Dinso and Khok Wua intersection – looking at evidence. At Dinso, the second clash site, several vandalized tanks and humvees remained. The unit designations at the army vehicles were covered with tapes, hiding the unit identities (also during the battle soldiers refused to answer questions regarding unit). Between the tanks two were holes in the tarmac – blasts of grenades which killed and injured several soldiers. The street was spiked with bullet holes. I only found holes from the direction of the army towards the protesters – in the height of knees, stomach, heads and over the heads.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    April 10 violent clashes in Bangkok between army and protesters

    At least 10 people have died and over 600 are injured following violent clashes in the old town of Bangkok between red shirt protesters and government soldiers. Red shirt protesters -- mainly from the countryside -- had been camping out and marching in Bangkok for weeks. 

    Thai army soldier, prachatai.org, A Soldier's Story   "An account of events around Ratchadamnoen and Khao San on the night of 10 April was given by a conscript in a phone call to his family. Soldiers have been told not to communicate with the media so this report must remain anonymous."
    Approximately 50 draftees who had not finished basic training were ordered to put on riot gear at dusk on Saturday and were driven to the Ratchadamnoen area. We were not told in advance where we were going or what our objective was. We were equipped with rubber bullets but no gas masks...

    At one point I was overcome with tear gas. Red shirts took off my helmet and I never saw it again. They washed the tear gas off my face. I and 2 friends were now isolated and did not know where to go. We tried staying put but it got too dangerous, so we started moving about and got lost. After 3 hours, we met a policeman in the middle of the night who told us where our unit was.

    We got about 3 hours sleep and were transported back to camp the following afternoon. Of the 50 who had gone out, only about 20 remained. Some must be in hospital with injuries, and probably many just ran for their lives.

    We have decided, among the draftees, that we will not go out on missions like this. The officers say this too. We have been told by the commanding officer that we will not be asked to go out again.
    Michael Connors, Some observations on Red Rally at Rachaprasong district 9 & 10 April, and Brief Report 11/4/10
    It has been commonly reported that the police are quite warm towards the red-shirts. This is obvious, although I observed from this rally that the border police were much friendlier than the riot police....

    There are suggestions that some of the violence last night was military on military. Asked about the grenade that hit the military last night, I was informed by a UDD source that some 'watermelon soldiers' were deployed by rival commanders to attack the regiment was that was enforcing the crackdown. The source named the regiments and expected more conflict. This of course is unproven, but if true suggests that there may be more military action later. 
    Nirmal Ghosh, Straights Times, Spiral of violence
    ...After the truce was called we made our way to Pan Fah and met with other colleagues, many of us stunned and exhausted from being out all day and often in the line of fire. Colleagues spoke of a firefight in which it seemed as if soldiers may have even been shooting at each other. Snipers were shooting from roofs. There had been so much chaos and confusion that the details and facts quickly became hazy.
    Tony Jon, Thai-faq, Thai Army Opens Fire on Red Protesters, posted on 11. Apr, 2010.  (remarkable live-narrated video, plus text description of the event).
    "The stand off took place at Phan Fa bridge and was the deadliest clash between the protesters and the army in the month long protest..." 
    Andrew Marshall, Journotopia - "British freelance journalist reporting from Asia on big issues for TIME magazine and other publications worldwide."    Twitter feed:
    • Reds heaving huge arsenal of captured weapons onto stage. Guns, ammo piled up beside corpses. Cause. Effect.
    • One man's head rests on a pillow of skull fragments. Red shirt leader Nattawut prays at his feet.
    • On Pan Fah stage. Two corpses here, wrapped in bloody Thai flags.
    • French photographer tells me she saw troops open fire on medics trying to evacuate wounded. 
    Nicholas Day, New Mandala, War at Khao San
    Emma and me decided to head out to Rajaprasong to see what was happening...  Suddenly, the sound of guns being fired.  There was a large number of guns going off at the same time and each gun firing several bullets in quick succession...
    Andrew Walker, New Mandala,  The scene at Phan Fa
    I have just returned from the Pan Fa Bridge, after deciding to go and get a dose of reality on what I had been reading and writing about all day.... I arrived at the stage area just in time for the commencement of a very moving commemoration for the dead... [Newley, listed above, appears to have captured some photos of this.]

    I talked to one English backpacker who looked a little too pale, and he told me that he had seen someone shot in the head in front of him and had captured it all on film.
    Newley, Newley.com,  Thai troops, red shirts clash: images from last night
    Here are some images that I snapped last night.... For context on the military crackdown, see the descriptions I posted on Twitter in real-time.
    Bethany Shondark on Twitter -  tweeting continually from a hotel under siege in Bangkok

    Legal nomads on Twitter, photos

    Noppatjak on Twitter, photos
    Richard Barlow on Twitter, photos

    Bangkok Pundit, AC, Live blog: The crackdown?

    Readers of New Mandala blog, Crackdown (This is an open thread for information and informed
    commentary on events in Bangkok today)

    Mong Palatino, Global Voices, Thailand: Citizen videos of violent clash

    Jotman, JOTMAN.COM, Military crackdown on protesters in Bangkok

    Jotman, Jot around the world,  Violence in Bangkok: Is Khao San Road safe for tourists? - a blog summary of reports on events in tourist district

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    Early April Bangkok protests: Red shirts swarm mall, debut of pink shirts

    Bangkok Pundit, Live-blogging: Reds talks with Abhisit, March 28


    Thomas Hoy, “Thailand want ยุบสภา”: Red signs in English, March 29, (one of Hoy's photo at right)
    Tony Joh, Pink shirt protesters converge on Lumpini Park, April 2, "Supporters of Abhisit Vejjajiva, wearing  pink shirts protested at Lumpini Park today. They want a quick and peaceful end to the current political situation." 
    Richard Barlow, Red Shirts Close Biggest Shopping Malls in Bangkok, 3 April
    A Reader of New Mandala,  New Mandala, Occupation of the malls – UPDATED, April 4, 
    Tony Joh, Chaos in Bangkok as red shirt protesters take over, April 7, "Chaos reigns in Bangkok as the red shirt protesters push the limits of government patience and take over downtown Bangkok."
    Richard Barlow, Is Bangkok Really Dangerous?, April 8
    Nat, New Mandala, More red shirt images,  April 9, "Here is a gallery of photos from a New Mandala reader, Nat, who went shopping last Saturday and ended up taking a tour of the red shirt protest."

        Wednesday, April 7, 2010

        Saturday, March 27, 2010

        Late March red shirt demonstrations in Bangkok

        Srithanonchai, New Mandala, The “rural hordes” up close, March 16 
        After the Bangkok Post had kindly called the protestors of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) “red rage” and “rural hordes,” I decided to pay a visit to the protest site on Monday, 15 March 2010.
        Simon Roughneen, New Mandala, Another view from the streets of Bangkok, March 18th 
        For those of us who aren’t traipsing the streets of Bangkok this week provides a striking picture of the action in this photo page.
        Reader of New Mandala, New Mandala Support for Reds from Bangkok at large, March 18
        Notice all the people (wearing all colours) to the left who poured out onto the streets to show their support. This is a middle to upper class neighbourhood, so this totally defies the stereotype that only lower-class “rural hordes” support the pro-democracy movement.

        Nick Nostitz, New Mandala, Bangkok or bust, Part 1, March 26,  "Over recent weeks, Nick Nostitz has been out on the streets of Bangkok taking pictures and collecting his thoughts about the ongoing Red protests." 

        Wednesday, March 24, 2010

        Surveillance operation against WikiLeaks

         Barret Brown at True Slant live-blogged reports of the surveillance operation against WikiLeaks in Iceland on March 24.

        [therelive+logo+squrare+white+smallest.JPG] Wikileaks provided hour-by-hour accounts of the event on twitter.
        WikiLeaks is currently under an aggressive US and Icelandic surveillance operation. Following/ photographing/ filming/ detaining.

        Last week the New York Times reported that the Pentagon had set its sights on undermining Wikileaks.   Jotman blogged about the event here, posting the relevant tweets.  For background about WikiLeaks -- and why the organization matters  -- it's well worth watching this video.

        Wednesday, March 17, 2010

        Blood protest at Thai prime minister's house

        Red Shirt protesters in Bangkok splashed blood on the Thai prime minister's residence today. 

        WEDNESDAY MARCH 17, 2010

          Newley, Newley.com, March 17, 2010, Thailand blood protest: images from the prime minister’s house today
        Here are my images from today’s red shirt “blood protest” — is that an official term now? — at the prime minister’s house.

        Tuesday, March 16, 2010

        Bangkok blood protest of March 16

        Some concerns that had been raised about the Red Shirts' planned blood protest are described at Jot ASEAN.

        At this time in Thailand, the protest leaders are collecting blood in preparation for throwing it on Government House.

         Bangkok Pundit, Asian Correspondent, Bloody options and  Bloody Tuesday sacrifice

        Nirmal Ghosh, Straights Times, Bloody Tuesday in Bangkok  
        (text, photos).  Photo right by Nirmal Ghosh.
        ....Doctors and nurses from hospitals and clinics had volunteered to do it professionally. There were stacks of supplies – clean disposable syringes in original packaging, alcohol, cotton wool and gauze and Band-aid, surgical gloves and masks. The blood was being put into large plastic bottles, the kind in which you get drinking water in bulk....

        A few metres from the stage, hundreds of red shirts were filing into a tent to donate blood. An air conditioner wheezed fruitlessly as 20-30 people at any given moment crammed into the white tent on the hot and humid morning, with the queue outside stretching for about 50 metres. After they had given blood, they were provided with a generous bowl of rice porridge outside.....
        Pongpan Chumjai, PrachataiRed shirts launch “Blood Sacrifice” campaign (text, photos, video).  Photo right by Prachatai.
        This morning, thousands of red shirts lined up to have their blood drawn by medical activists, a day after red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikua vowed to collect "1 million cubic centimetres" of blood to spill at Government House on Tuesday evening. More blood will be shed at the headquarters of the Democrat Party on Wednesday and the Prime Minister's house on Thursday if the protesters’ demands were not met.
        John Le Fevre, Photojourn.
         Red Shirt's blood collection points being swamped. People  want their blood poured at Thailand Gov. House
         Newley Purnell, Newley.com, Images from today’s red shirt blood protest
        Warning: if you don’t like images of needles or blood — or, specifically, photos of large plastic bottles full of blood — avert your eyes now…