Thursday, April 9, 2009

Red Shirt protests in Bangkok of April 8-10

The NY Times describes the protest that began in the Thai capital on 8 April: "In an attempt to show the continued strength of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, tens of thousands of his supporters massed in central Bangkok on Wednesday and demanded the resignation of the government." Blogger/journalist Newley reports that the crowd of protesters was estimated to have numbered 60,000 to 100,000.

Nick Nostitz, The crushing of the red shirts, New Mandala (3,000 words +, 40+ photos)
  • On the police: "Most officers I asked, expressed their support for the Red Shirts, a very common statement was: “I am neutral, but my heart is red.” Many of these officers also said that their families are with the protesters. Some even changed into Red Shirts after their shift ended. . ."
  • On former Thai PM Thaksin: "April 27 Thaksin Shinawatra had his first live video link to the protesters. . . .No more fluffy . . . . This was a radical attack at Privy Council president General Prem Tinsulanonda, and other members of the Privy Council, for orchestrating the 2006 military coup."
  • On Red Shirt identity: "Not just upcountry people attended, but increasingly large numbers of middle class Bangkokians too."
  • On the relative size of a Red Shirts' protest: 8 April march on Prem's house "was the biggest mass protest I have seen during the last 3 and a half years of political turmoil in Thailand, dwarfing every single PAD protest march."
  • On a protest at night: "The atmosphere was amazing, and very intense. I photographed a group of mostly young people who had a small cart with a music system, playing heavy bass laden tunes, dancing wildly, reminding me of African tribal dances. Water was splashed around."

Ratpup, Red shirts: he who dares, Rodders, he who dares.., Ratpup
Only when I tried grabbing a taxi after this workout did I realise how much of an idiot I had been. I was wearing a yellow running shirt. And I was trying to get back to my apartment in the heart of red shirt land!

John Le Fevre, Battle for Bangkok photo special, Photo Journ
These photos were shot at the pro-democracy protest at and around Government House in Bangkok on April 8, 2009. They are presented in the order of taking. . . .

Newley Purnell, Thailand protests: Video and images from yesterday’s demonstration, Newley (text, video, photos)
While the overall mood was pro-Thaksin, some people told me they were there to demand democracy, not necessarily to support the exiled PM. Signs read “We want democracy,” “Return the power to the people” and “Where’s the justice?” Many people wore shirts that read “Truth today: it’s time for change in Thailand.”

The Nation State, An Hour with the Red Shirts at Victory Monument, The Nation State (photos, text)

Andrew Walker (editor), Closing the Streets at Victory Monument, New Mandala (photos, text)

Srithanonchai, Red shirts on the march, New Mandala (text, 12 photos)

The UDD protest was like a “monarchy-free zone.” I did not see any pictures or symbols relating to it as a motivational resource (nor as a point of attack) [...] some protestors carried the national flag. They stood in attention when the national anthem was played, ending it with “Chaiyo, chaiyo, chaiyo!” [...] their attack on the “bureaucracy” indicates that the Establishment’s ideology of “Nation, Religion, Monarchy” does not carry any much weight any longer with protesting up-country people (most of them obviously not poor peasants) [...] More immediately, as one protestor pointed out to me, they wanted Abhisit to resign, because he had come to power by using the wrong means. Shortly before he told me this, I heard the speaker on stage setting a 24-hours ultimatum for Abhisit and Prem to resign.

Cheeseong on Flickr and more at Shutter Asia (12+ photos)

Bangkok Pundit, D-Day : Semi-live blog of the UDD Rally, Bangkok PunditFurther reading:
In the following posts at THERELIVE.COM, I posted longer summaries of the insights I gleaned reading Nick's incredible story, and information about other live-bloggers of the protests:

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