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.