Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thailand update: Protesters target state telecoms — and suspected Red Shirts

The AP reports:

A mob of anti-government protesters attacked at least two people they suspected of supporting the current Thai government and smashed the windows of a moving Bangkok bus Saturday in the first eruption of violence after a week of tense street protests.

The mob also smashed the windshield of a taxi carrying people wearing red shirts, a sign of government support.

The violence erupted when the crowd of more than 1,000 people led by university students who oppose the government tried to block people from entering a stadium where supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra were holding a rally.

Embedded above and on YouTube here is a short clip of what appears to the incident in which demonstrators attacked the bus.

Earlier in the day, the anti-government demonstrators rallied at two state-run telecommunications agencies, CAT Teleom and and TOT. Here’s an AP story, and one from Reuters.

Meanwhile, more and more Red Shirts have been gathering at Rajamangala Stadium.

Here’s a photo @caldeiradasilva posted at about 7:30 p.m. tonight:

And finally, a Wall Street Journal story today looks at whether or not the army might stage a coup. The answer, according to analysts, is: probably not.

“The army has learned its lesson from the coup in 2006 and the Red Shirt protests in 2010,” said Panitan Wattanayakorn, a professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University and spokesman in a previous, anti-Thaksin government. “Meddling with politics has cost it support.”

As for tomorrow, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has announced plans to target Government House — the prime minister’s offices — and other locations such as police headquarters and various ministries.

For the latest, follow me on Twitter, and see my Bangkok journalists Twitter list.

Here are 3 maps that show where Bangkok protests are happening—for now, at least

Anti-government protesters have been ratcheting up their rallies in recent days. It’s a fluid situation: Demonstrators often move to various locations in the city throughout the day.

Yesterday they targeted the Police headquarters; today they forced their way into the Army’s HQ.

It can be hard, especially for those not familiar with the geography of the Thai capital, to visualize where these events are occurring. Here are a few maps that should help.

To date, most of the rallies have been happening near Bangkok’s downtown/old city area, with some also taking place near various lower Sukhumvit Road intersections. Of course, that could change at any time.

This map comes via a BBC story yesterday.

2013 11 28 bkk protests map

Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has been providing daily updates and maps. Here’s yesterday’s:

2013 11 29 bangkok protests map

And finally, as I’ve mentioned before, Richard Barrow (@richardbarrow) maintains a map on Google Maps, though it looks like this one hasn’t been updated in a few days.


View Protest Areas in Bangkok in November 2013 in a larger map

For updates as the situation develops, check out previous post about how to follow the protest news.

And if you have any maps to share, please let me know on Twitter.

Thailand protest update: demonstrations move beyond Bangkok

Just briefly: A few stories worth checking out today:

For ongoing updates, keep an eye on The Bangkok Post, The Nation, and Thailand-related stories available by searching Google News. And as I mentioned in a previous post, I suggest checking out my Bangkok journalists Twitter list for more.

Bangkok protests update: November 26

2013 11 26 front pages

Above: today’s WSJ Asia and International New York Times

A quick update, following yesterday’s post, as protests continue here in Bangkok.

What happened today:

The protesters don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon

The AP reported:

On Tuesday, the main protest group appeared to have converted the Finance Ministry into its headquarters, and declared Tuesday a “rest day,” as protesters erected tents in the parking lot.

And journalist Patrick Winn Tweeted:

The US issued a statement

The statement, posted on the US Embassy in Bangkok’s Web site, says:

The U.S. Government is concerned about the rising political tension in Thailand and is following the ongoing demonstrations in Bangkok closely. We urge all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law. Violence and the seizure of public or private property are not acceptable means of resolving political differences.

We call upon all sides to uphold international norms that guarantee freedom of the press and the safety of journalists. The United States firmly believes all parties should work together to resolve differences through peaceful dialogue in ways that strengthen democracy and rule of law.

As long-time friends of Thailand, we strongly support the Thai nation and its people during this period.

Sample rhetoric

Below: an image snapped by photojournalist George Henton at a protest site. He Tweeted:

A translation, via Kaewmala on Twitter, is as follows:

“Ungrateful Traitors, cohorts of the evil Khmer Hu Sen, destroy the nation. Death only punishment”

Stay tuned.

As ever, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Bangkok protests: What happened today and how to follow the news

Anti-government protesters, whose rallies I’ve written about before, stepped up their demonstrations today. Above is AP video of scuffles that broke out with police.

Here’s a recap of what happened today:

Other stories:

Regarding economic implications, The WSJ quotes an analyst as saying:

“Investor sentiment on Thailand is in the doldrums at the moment,” said Barnabas Gan, an analyst covering the country for OCBC. “The current protests right now basically confirmed the pessimism that global investors have” over the country, he said.

There’s more from Bloomberg. And The NYT has some color from the Finance Ministry:

By late afternoon, protesters could be seen napping and snacking in two of the ministry’s conference rooms, but they had not yet penetrated the main offices. Riot police have been deployed in Bangkok for several weeks, but no police officers were visible in the compound.

Mr. Suthep said protesters had chosen to occupy the Finance Ministry because it is at the heart of the government.

“From now on, this government can no longer transfer money,” he said. “Not a single coin will be used by the Thaksin regime anymore.”

Monitoring the protest sites

Richard Barrow maintains a Google map of Bangkok protest areas:


View Protest Areas in Bangkok in November 2013 in a larger map

I also suggest following Richard on Twitter for updates.

My Twitter lists

Blogs to watch

Advice for US citizens

The US Embassy’s American Citizen Services Tweeted this tonight:

Follow me on Twitter

As always, follow me on Twitter for the latest.

My favorite chart illustrating trends in Thai governance over the decades

2013 11 20 thai constitution

A study of Thai politics in the 20th century reveals that the country has continuously alternated between democratic and military systems of government. As I mentioned earlier on Twitter, yesterday’s Constitution Court verdict — that the government’s attempt to make the Senate fully elected is unconstitutional — provides an opportunity to share my favorite graphic related to the country’s governance. (The image is available on Wikipedia’s Constitution of Thailand page, copyright Patiwat Panurach.)

As you’ll see above, Thailand’s many constitutions and charters through the years have had varying numbers of elected and appointed executives; political turbulence surrounding such changes has been the norm for Thailand. It’s no different today.

For more on the court verdict, I suggest this Wall Street Journal story. There’s more from The AP, BBC, The New York Times, and Reuters.

A round-up of some of my recent Quartz stories

Some posts you might’ve missed if you don’t follow me on Twitter, where I self-promote link to my work more often:

Thailand protests update: a few links to share

A quick follow-up to my post Tuesday about anti-amnesty demonstrations morphing into an effort to topple Yingluck.

Here’s what’s up:

1. The general strike fizzled, as the AP reports.

2. Have we reached a stalemate? The the big picture, again from the AP: Thaksin isn’t returning to Thailand anytime soon. Yingluck and the ruling Pheu Thai party over-reached in pushing the amnesty bill. But Yingluck and the Thaksin-linked party still have an electoral mandate.

3. For a look at the protests’ economic impact, here’s a Wall Street Journal Q&A with Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn, chair of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organization.

4. Protests, though smaller now, continue.