Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bangkok: Red shirt protest rally of March 14

Continued from these previous posts:
SUNDAY MARCH 14


 Jon Dent, Prachatai, Thailands2Faces – Red Dawn
Forestmat, Demotix, Buddhist Monks join Bangkok Red Shirt protests (two dozen photos)
Despite being a blisteringly hot day, hundreds more Buddhist monks guarded by their red shirt supporters joined anti-government protests in Bangkok today.

Despite being a major anti-government rally, the atmosphere continues to remain peaceful, even to the point of soldiers in riot gear willing to accept having red neckerchiefs tied to their wrists by rally goers. Bangkok, Thailand. 
Marc Askew, New Mandala, Red soi, Red city: A brief commentary from the streets, (text,  dozens of photos)
...My perspective here is from the vantage point of the Bangkok street, where, by accident rather than design, I have turned up during key moments of confrontation – October 2008, March 2009, and again March 2010, from Thailand’s primary red zone, the southern border provinces, my main field of research. When in Bangkok, I usually stay at a small guest house in a soi in Bangkok that has been “red” since October 2008, when local people responded angrily to the yellow shirt confrontation with police in front of parliament house, a prelude to the destruction of the Somchai government two months later. From the restaurant waitresses, the families running the small restaurants, the hairdressers, the travel agents, the dry cleaners, the newsagents, the lottery ticket sellers, the taxi drivers to the ubiquitous motorcycle taxi riders — all oppose the current Democrat-led government as illegitimate. The owner of this guest house (let’s call her Daeng) is a native of Loei Province in the upper northeast. ...
...we entered Sukhumvit road, and found ourselves in the midst of a convoy of trucks and motorcycles carrying red shirt supporters towards the rally site. What was remarkable about this were the numerous enthusiastic bystanders along Sukhumvit, Ploenchit and Rama I roads who shouted greetings to the cavalcade. I particularly recall a woman flower vendor outside the Erawan Brahman shrine, who smilingly threw red roses into the pick up trucks as they passed. At the rally sight, despite the intense heat of the day, the atmosphere was festive. At the end of Lan Luang road, red shirt guards, donning black, manned barricades, handing water to those arriving.  Each new arriving group was cheered enthusiastically as they entered this and other points, like an assembling army.

     Bangkok Bugle, the Bangkok Bugle,  WITH THE REDS ON RAJADAMNOEN (text, 7 photos)
    I'm home after spending a couple of hours walking up and down Rajadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok where most the red-shirt anti-government protesters are gathering. It's hard to estimate just how many people, but for certain the numbers are growing by the hour. Policing is light and the mood of the protesters, at least when I was there, was jovial although seemingly determined.

    Bangkok Pundit/reader, AC Red rally : Live blog. (text)
    On the 15,000 protesters, they were coming into Bangkok from ouside of Bangkok.  A BP reader who has provided accurate information in the past and who was near Sukhumvit Soi 31 (the soi that Abhisit lives on) e-mails this report:
    ....The atmosphere could be described as "unbridled enthusiasm", without exaggeration.

    To me, the most interesting thing to observe were the ordinary Thais -- vendors, people coming out of their shops (particularly in primarily Yellow Bangkok), and people streaming from smaller sub-sois to watch -- along the street who were not wearing red, but were cheering as well, and as the convoy of thousands finished the protest and started driving along Sukhumvit (presumably toward Ratchadamnoen), these same un-red-shirted people waved and called out to the departing Reds. Also, a surprising number of people driving private cars (as well as taxis, but we'd expect those), honked their horns and waved and smiled at the Reds as they drove past. Many men and women not wearing who had just come out to the street to watch were waving whatever red things they could find as the Reds departed: red shopping bags, faded Coke signs, I even saw a red sock!....

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