BBC: “New finding on cameraman’s death during Thai protests”

2011 02 28 hiro

The BBC has this story today:

New finding on cameraman’s death during Thai protests

Investigators in Thailand have reversed an earlier finding into the killing of a Reuters cameraman during red-shirt anti government protests last April.

Officials from the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) now say Hiro Muramoto was shot by an AK47, a gun not used by Thai soldiers.

An earlier leaked report blamed the military for shooting the cameraman.

Critics say the investigations into how 89 people died in last year’s protests have been hurt by interference.

Hiro Muramoto, a Japanese cameraman working for Reuters, was killed on 10 April last year.

Thai soldiers were trying to clear many thousands of anti-government protesters, known as red-shirts, from the streets of Bangkok.

They failed – five soldiers died in the attempt and 20 civilians.

Mr Muramoto died from a bullet through his chest.

An earlier finding by the DSI had concluded this was fired by an M16 from an army-held position that night. Witnesses from the scene agreed.

The military was unhappy with that finding and army sources have told reporters that a military officer was assigned to help the DSI’s investigation.

(Emphasis mine.)

Photo: Reuters via BBC.

Red shirts to hold anniversary rally on March 12

AP has this story today:

Thailand’s ‘Red Shirts’ urge release of colleagues

Seven recently freed leaders of Thailand’s anti-government “Red Shirt” movement called Sunday for the release of more than 180 of their colleagues who remain jailed since a violent military crackdown last year.

The seven gathered for a ceremony at Bangkok’s Wat Pathuwanaram temple, where six people were fatally shot last year as the army swept demonstrators from the streets to end weeks of mass protests that shook the city and left nearly 90 people dead.

And:

The Red Shirts have nevertheless vowed to stage another large rally on March 12 – the anniversary of the start of last year’s mass protests, which shut down swathes of the city including major shopping malls and hotels, and ended with more around 1,400 people injured.

(Emphasis mine.)

Reuters: “Thai PM says has the edge in close election”

A Reuters story from yesterday: Exclusive: Thai PM says has the edge in close election:

Thailand’s prime minister said on Wednesday his Democrat Party would have the edge in a mid-year election but he would probably need to form a coalition to govern, signaling a close and potentially volatile poll.

In an interview with Reuters, 46-year-old, Oxford University-educated Abhisit Vejjajiva said he expected the election to bring stability to the troubled country, regardless of who wins, and an alliance with smaller parties would probably pave the way for him to form a government.

“We are looking at some time around the first half of this year,” Abhisit said of the election, his firmest indication yet of the timing for a poll. “It is a close election like last time, except that we are slightly ahead. The latest polls show we are ahead in all polls except the northeast.”

7 Red Shirt leaders out on bail

2011 02 22 reds

AP:

Thailand Court Grants Bail for Red Shirt Leaders

A Thai court has granted bail for seven leaders of the antigovernment “Red Shirt” movement detained after mass protests and riots ended in May.

BBC:

Thailand’s red-shirt leaders freed on bail

Seven leaders of Thailand’s “red-shirt” protest movement have been freed on bail after nine months in jail on terrorism charges.

Separately another red-shirt, Surachai Damwattananusorn, has been arrested on charges of insulting the monarchy.

The government has meanwhile extended implementation of the Internal Security Act for another month.

It is trying to contain continuing protests by both the red-shirts and the nationalist “yellow-shirt” protesters.

The decision to release all seven red-shirt leaders and a protest guard was a surprise. At most, two leaders were expected to be freed.

There are also stories from Reuters and Bloomberg.

(Image: BBC.)

Economist on Thai politics and motorcycle taxi drivers

Economist:

Enter the orange shirts

In A city of clogged streets, motorbike taxis are the essential lubricant. They weave through rush-hour traffic, mount pavements and roar down the labyrinthine alleys known as soi. They lurk in gangs on street corners, waiting to carry people or goods, or run errands. Some 200,000 drivers sporting orange jackets are reckoned to ply their trade in Bangkok.

The motorbike drivers are mad about politics, which in Thailand is colour-coded. The drivers are overwhelmingly “red” and loyal to a former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Most hail from the pro-Thaksin north-east, and were in the thick of the action during last year’s rowdy red-shirt rallies. Motorbikes were the red-shirt cavalry, keeping tabs on the movements of state troops, who ended the protests with the loss of 91 lives.

This is an election year, and every vote counts. So the prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, no red shirt he, has singled out motorbike taxis for attention under a new, pro-poor programme called the People’s Agenda. Along with millions of other informal workers, motorbike drivers will be eligible for social security, loans from state banks and other benefits. To drive the point home, Mr Abhisit posed with an orange-clad motorbike driver at the launch of the programme, which he described as a “New Year’s gift” to Thai people.

10 links

Squat

Some Thailand related, some not…

  1. The Uprising in Egypt: Judgment DaysThe New Yorker
  2. A Short Primer on Egypt Now — american footprints
  3. Egypt Over the BrinkForeign Policy
  4. A Southern Chef Doesn’t Stray FarNew York Times
  5. Southeast Asia embraces China trade, but how’s the relationship? It’s complicatedChristian Science Monitor
  6. Thailand: Webmaster Case Tests Limits of Free SpeechTIME
  7. How ‘The Fridge’ lost his way — about William “The Refrigerator” Perry
  8. John’s no nonsense mobile phone — www.johnsphones.com
  9. Radiolab Presents: The Loneliness of the Goalkeeper — a must-listen for anyone who cares about soccer or radio journalism.
  10. Image above: from Everything you know about fitness is a lie, in Men’s Journal.

Thailand, Cambodia, and Preah Vihear: more links

Preah vihear

A few more items to pass along:

(Image: BBC News.)

More on Thailand, Cambodia, and Preah Vihear clashes

Preah vihear

AP: Thai, Cambodian clashes resume at disputed border

Economist blog post with background info and political implications: Shells fly around the temple

BBC: Cambodia nationalism fired by temple row with Thailand

MCOT: Fresh fighting on Thai-Cambodian border; 15,000 evacuated

(Image: Reuters/BBC.)