Bangkok Thai politics Thailand

Bangkok bomb kills 1; Dems win parliamentary by-election

A bomb exploded yesterday at a bus stop near central Bangkok’s Rajaprasong intersection, killing 1 and wounded 10. BBC has more info here.

Here’s an image I snapped about an hour and a half after the explosion. The bus stop is located directly opposite the CentralWorld shopping mall, which was torched on May 19 following the military’s dispersal of red shirt protesters.

The red shirts’ stage was located just a few hundred meters up Rajadamri Rd. Here’s what the intersection looked like last night.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post has this story about yesterday’s parliamentary by-election, which the Democrats won. Previous BP post about the significance of the by-election is here.

I’ll likely be posting more about both of these stories on Twitter.

Bangkok Thai politics Thailand

Red shirt protests: images from this evening

The latest news on the red shirt protests here in Bangkok is this: The army continues to enforce its blockade of the protest zone at Rajaprasong, in the center of the city. And demonstrators continue to attack the soldiers’ positions.

Here’s a recent AP story on failed talks between red leaders and the government.

I can now hear, off in the distance, pops and bangs coming from the Rama IV and Silom areas of the city, to the south of the protest site. This is, among other locations, where many of the clashes have occurred. Whether these sounds are from fireworks or gunfire is unclear to me.

In addition to other weapons, red shirts have been firing firecrackers and bottle rockets at the soldiers, and the army has been defending their positions with live fire.

For more on the situation, here’s a BBC gallery of images, and here are some photos at from photographer James Nachtwey.

Also, this Atlantic piece sums up what’s happening in Thailand. And for an essay about the recent violence, I suggest checking out this NYT piece by Tom Fuller, who was near “Seh Daeng” when the rogue army general was shot last week.

On to the images.

I snapped most of these about five hours ago today (Tues.), just after 6 p.m. local time. I spent some time at the Rajaprasong stage — here’s what the crowd looked like at about 5:30 p.m. The numbers here have fallen over the past few days.

Stage at Rajaprasong, 5:30 p.m. May 18, 2010

Phloenchit Rd., looking up Langsuan

Standing from a barrier that the red shirts have constructed on Phloenchit Rd. to my right, here’s the view of Langsuan Rd.

Phloenchit Rd., looking up Soi Chidlom

Looking up Chidlom Rd.

Phloenchit Rd.: red shirt barricade and Wireless Rd. ahead

Looking up Phloenchit toward a second red shirt barrier on Wireless Rd. I was unable to identify the source of the smoke.

Phetburi Rd: barricade

A hastily snapped image of a barricade on Phetburi Rd. There has also been fighting in this area.

Phetburi Rd.: barricade

Another barrier on Phetburi Rd.

Phetburi Rd. -- army checkpoint

Approaching an army checkpoint on Phetburi Rd. and Nana.

Phetburi Rd. -- army checkpoint

Past the army checkpoint.

All of these images are in the full Flickr photoset.

As I noted at the time on Twitter, I later noticed that soldiers have set up a checkpoint with sandbags in the median of Phloenchit, near Mahatun Plaza.

More soon…

Bangkok Thai politics Thailand

Map of Bangkok clashes as of Sat., May 15

Here’s a map that the Bangkok Post is running today. I couldn’t find this on their Web site, so I scanned it in.

It shows where the major violence took place yesterday. Click the image for a bigger version.

Bangkok map: red shirt clashes with army troops, May 15, 2010

Also, as a reminder, here’s the Google Map of protest sites, and here’s another map of red shirt-controlled areas.

The situation is obviously fluid; for real time updates, follow me on Twitter.

Map source: Bangkok Post.

Bangkok Thai politics Thailand

Images from red shirt demonstrations at Rajaprasong last week (and the latest news)

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.

Here’s an NYT story with more details. And here’s a story from the BBC, as well as one from Reuters. For some analysis, I suggest checking out this post from BP about the current state of affairs.

On to the images from Friday. As I noted on Twitter at the time ((Yes, I also tweeted a Seh Daeng sighting…)), 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.

Stage at Rajaprasong

Shelter in Rajaprasong

People in Rajaprasong, outside CentralWorld mall

Improvised shelter at Rajaprasong, outside CentralWorld mall

Sign at Rajaprasong

Mobile phone charging service at Rajaprasong

Food deliver at Rajaprasong

Red shirt "guards"

Barrier in Silom

Barrier in Silom


The scene at Khao San Rd. today

Self promotion: Here’s a story I wrote about the scene at Khao San Rd. today. Includes pics.


Thai troops, redshirts clash: images from last night

Here are some images that I snapped last night. Warning: some are graphic. The full photoset also contains images from the previous day.

For context on the military crackdown, see the descriptions I posted on Twitter in real-time. The AP says 18 people have been killed in the clashes. Five soldiers and 13 civilians.

For the latest news, here are stories from the NYT, WSJ, AP, and Reuters (1 — and 2).

A cache of weapons on Phan Fah stage. The red shirts said they took the arms from soldiers.

Captured soldiers being held on stage at Phan Fah bridge. I asked one of the red shirts what they would do with these men. He said they would be held until tomorrow (today — Sun.). About 10 min. after I took this photo, the men were lead to an area behind the stage, out of sight.

Protesters’ bodies on stage at Phan Fah bridge

A red shirt media liaison told me this man was the father of one of the protesters who was killed. The man’s son was 25 years old. The man collapsed after crying over his son’s body.

A red shirt protester poses with a riot shield.

A plastic bag full of spent shell casings.

A pool of blood not far from Khao San Rd.

A red shirt woman speaks with soldiers near Makkawan.


Images from today’s red shirt blood protest

Here are some photos from the red shirts’ blood protest here in Bangkok today. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like it.

Here’re the details from, NPR, and the WSJ.

In brief: thousands of demonstrators began donating blood at about 8:30 a.m. today at the main rally site, near Rajadamnoen Rd. The blood was collected in large containers, and then in the late afternoon a large group of protesters marched — brandishing the blood — to Government House. There, several red shirt leaders poured blood near the entrance. (The WSJ story has a pic of that moment.)

The symbolic act was meant, red shirt leaders said, to show Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that if he wants to enter the compound, he’ll have to step on Thai blood to do so.

Warning: if you don’t like images of needles or blood — or, specifically, photos of large plastic bottles full of blood — avert your eyes now…

Here’s the full photoset on Flickr.

I’ll be covering the ongoing protests tomorrow (Wed. the 17th), as well. You can follow me on Twitter for updates.


Images from today’s red shirt protests

Here are some images from today’s red shirt protests. I snapped these at Victory Monument and at Rajadamnoen Rd. See my tweets for context.














You can find more pics in my complete Flickr set.


World Cup trophy comes to Bangkok


The World Cup trophy will be on display at Bangkok’s Paragon shopping center from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. tomorrow (Sat.).

Today’s Bangkok Post has the details:

The Fifa World Cup trophy arrived in Bangkok yesterday with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva receiving it in a ceremony at Don Mueang Airport.

“I am glad to touch the trophy,” said a smiling Abhisit who lifted the trophy.

The 18-carat, solid gold trophy is being taken to 83 countries on a 138,902km journey around the world and has already been received by more than 30 heads of states or governments.

The trip, which ends on May 4 when the trophy arrives in South Africa, is sponsored by Coca-Cola, a major sponsor of the World Cup.

The trophy will be on display to the general public tomorrow at the Royal Paragon Hall, Siam Paragon, from 10am-8pm.

(Emphasis mine.)


La Monita: Bangkok’s best Mexican food


I’m not sure exactly when turned into a food blog, but I’m back with another culinary-centric post.

I wanted to follow up on La Monita, the new Mexican restaurant here in Bangkok. You’ll recall that I wrote about this place back in Nov., before it had opened.

My feeling is that La Monita now offers the best Mexican food in the Thai capital, though there are admittedly only a few Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants here.

You can find La Monita’s Web site here, and they’re also on Twitter (@LaMonitaBkk) and Facebook.

A and I have now eaten at La Monita twice, and while I don’t have any images of the dishes to share, I can tell you this: the owner, Billy, knows his stuff. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is festive and welcoming.

A few of the standout dishes include:

  • Shrimp tacos with tequila flambe and cheese
  • Fish tacos
  • Steak quesadillas
  • My suggestion for ordering is simply to ask Billy for recommendations.

    Also, for drinks, I’m told that the margaritas are good. I haven’t tried them, but I really enjoyed a different — and new to me — drink: the Michelada, which Billy tells me is a popular beverage in Mexico City at the moment.

    Micheladas consist of beer mixed with lime and hot sauce; they’re served in a salted glass. Here’s a WSJ story about Micheladas.

    Worth a visit, to be sure.

    La Monita Taqueria
    888/26 Mahatun Plaza (about 100 meters down, on the left)
    Tel. 02-650-9581

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