I don’t know the context, but it looks like the people who built this pedestrian flyover in Thailand simply worked around the existing overhead cables.
AP ran this interesting story yesterday:
BANGKOK — You can still feed elephants in Thailand’s bustling capital — but it could cost you.
Bangkok authorities said Monday anyone caught handing bunches of bananas or sugar cane to the hulking beasts — proffered by their handlers to make money — faces a $320 (10,000 baht) fine.
Thailand has about 2,400 domestic elephants. There is little demand these days for the animals’ traditional skills in logging and other labor, so owners sometimes loan them out for begging from tourists and locals in major cities.
Will the ordinance be enforced? We shall see.
Below are some images of the red shirt demonstrations that I snapped on Friday, May 7. I haven’t had a chance to post these photos until now, but I thought they’d be helpful in providing a sense of how things looked at the red shirts’ protest site as of several days ago.
But first, the latest news: The government said today (Wed.) that at midnight tonight, it will cut off water, electricity, phone services, public transportation, and food deliveries to the Rajaprasong area in order to force red shirt protesters to disperse.
On to the images from Friday. As I noted on Twitter at the time1, the red shirt protesters appeared as dug in — and as resolute — as ever. You get the sense, walking around, that — as they’ve shown — they’re there to stay, at least until they get what they (or the red shirt leaders) want.
The protest site, as I’ve told others, resembles a massive tent city. It is a demonstration site, yes. But it is also a village in and of itself. There are facilities for sleeping, bathing, eating, and sanitation. There are red shirt “guards” who control roads leading to and within the site (see image below).
There are tents with TVs and DVD players set up, where footage of the April 10 clashes are played on a loop. There are foot massage services. And in addition to every manner of red shirt merchandise being on sale, there are even mobile phone charging services (see image below).
The bamboo barricade, near Silom, wasn’t heavily manned when I was there; most demonstrators had pulled back several hundred meters away, toward Rajaprasong. Below are several photos; there are a few more in the complete Flickr photoset.
A quick update to my previous post about Thai PM Abhisit’s talks with red shirt leaders here in Bangkok today.
The talks have concluded for today, and the discussions will resume tomorrow, says this Bangkok Post story. BP has also been sharing some observations on Twitter, as have @terryfrd, @tri26, and others.
The meeting was broadcast live on Thai TV. The PM and his two colleagues sat on one side of a table, all wearing blue shirts. The three red shirt leaders sat opposite them.
As you can see in the image above, the participants’ body language and facial expressions seemed relatively relaxed given the heated nature of the ongoing protests.
(Image: Bangkok Post.)
An interesting development here in Thailand today: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has agreed to meet for talks with red shirt leaders. The meeting is taking place now1
Abhisit had, until today, said he would not speak with the red leaders so long as they insisted on their demand to dissolve the House. That remains their goal, however.
This weekend saw some mysterious grenade attacks on state-run TV stations and on the 11th infantry command, the military base where Abhisit has been staying. And red shirt protesters reportedly stepped up their demonstrations at that compound.
Analysts say that Abhisit is unlikely to dissolve the House. But the red shirts are optimistic.
In a statement to media today, they say that while the talks are ongoing, demonstrators will remain at Phan Fa bridge on Rajadamnoen Rd., dancing and cheering and “waiting for the Parliament dissolution announcement today.”
- It was set to begin about 30 min. ago, at 4 p.m. local time at King Prajadhipok’s Institute, an educational center here in Bangkok. [↩]
Now that the red shirt protests have come to an end (or paused?)1, here’s the question: What now?
Here are a few observations and questions, many of which I expect to re-visit in subsequent posts:
No doubt the notion of a controlled protest that involves the splattering of human blood seems contradictory. But I can tell you, from witnessing the events at Government House and the prime minister’s residence, that the police dealt with the crowds in a measured, well-coordinated manner.
To wit: I spent many hours attending red shirt protests and observing the red shirt caravans that paraded around town, and the onlookers overwhelmingly greeted the red demonstrators warmly. For example, see the image below, in which what appear to be everyday folks — not protesters who are wearing red attire — have come out to cheer the protesters on.
This is notable because the red shirts are typically characterized as being farmers from the north and northeast who are at odds with the Bangkok middle class, business establishment, and bureaucracy.4
People I have talked to have said that the reds’ use of blood was meant to appeal to their own base, and to seize the attention of those in power. So perhaps that’s all the red shirt leaders care about.
Still, Thaksin’s image could be seen on many, many signs and banners, such as the flag below. Thaksin is undoubtedly popular among many red shirts. But will the man prove to be a stumbling block to the red shirt movement?
That’s it for now. More on this soon, I’m sure.
By the way, my five observations from last year — after the Songkran unrest ended — are similar to some of these thoughts. That’s testament, I suppose, to the intractability of the problem.
- The demonstrations seem to be over for now, that is. The red shirts say they’ll be back on Sat., March 27. [↩]
- Note: there have been several mysterious grenade attacks at various locations in Bangkok of late. The Bangkok Post has the latest here. It is unclear who is behind these attacks. Both the red shirts and government blame each another. [↩]
- For more on the subject, I refer you to this CSM story today about Thailand’s media landscape [↩]
- Yes, I realize that it’s possible that these pedestrians are also from the provinces. [↩]
You can follow the news on today’s protests by checking out the #redmarch hashtag on Twitter. You can also, of course, consult the Bangkok Post, the Nation, and Google News. (I will likely also be relaying some thoughts via Twitter.)
Things have been relatively quiet here in Bangkok today. So I don’t have much new to share. But I did want to point out that the images I snapped of the bizarre blood protests here in Bangkok have been picked up by the uber-blog BoingBoing.
Take a look at the (46 and counting) comments. The commentary there provides some insight into how the event may be perceived among a tech-savvy, young-ish, Western audience.
Most of BoingBoing’s readers likely aren’t as familiar with the political issues driving the red shirts’ protests, so it’s interesting to see what they have to say about the demonstrations.
Here are my images from today’s red shirt “blood protest” — is that an official term now? — at the prime minister’s house. You can find the details in this BBC story. And there’s more from GlobalPost and AP.
I have a short video of the blood dousing incident itself, and will try to share that later. For now, here’re the pics…
There’re a few more images in the full Flickr photoset.
As ever, I’ll continue to monitor events. Follow me on Twitter for real-time updates.