Thai politics

Red Shirt Rajaprasong Rally: News Round-Up

2012 05 21 bangkok post thaksin

Just a quick follow-up to my last post:

For news about Saturday’s red shirt gathering at Rajaprasong to mark the second anniversary of the May 19 army crackdown, you can find stories from:

Elsewhere, GlobalVoices has a collection of images and various reports about the event.

Photo above: Sunday’s Bangkok Post front page.

Thai politics

Red Shirts at Rajaprasong: Some photos so far

2012 05 19 reds rajaprasong

Today is the second anniversary of the May 19, 2010 army crackdown on red shirt protesters in central Bangkok.

As I mentioned earlier, red shirts and others are gathering at Rajaprasong today to mark the occasion.

This AP piece provides some context. Here’s an AFP story about today’s rally. And here’s a post I wrote about my experiences on that day in 2010.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update this post later, so I wanted to provide a few images of today’s gathering that I’ve come across on Twitter.

As ever, Richard Barrow is Tweeting from the scene. He snapped the panoramic photo above at 3:09 p.m. Bangkok time. Here’s a bigger version.

Richard says the following events are on tap for the rest of the day:

2012 05 19 reds rajaprasong 2

Above is another photo from about half an hour earlier, courtesy of Pailin C (@_Willowtree_).

I think it’s safe to assume that crowds will grow as the day continues and temperatures drop.

The intersection is closed to traffic, and MCOT has advised motorists to avoid the area.

And shoppers who had planned to visit the adjacent CentralWorld should be advised that the mall has now closed, MCOT says:

For ongoing updates, you can find me on Twitter: @Newley. Here’s my Thailand Twitter list and my list of Bangkok journalists on Twitter.

In addition, of course, you can consult The Bangkok Post and The Nation.

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Abhisit and Democrats gathering at Rajaprasong today

2011 03 22 abhisit

As I mentioned earlier, Thai interim Prime Minister Abhisit and the Democrats plan to rally today at Rajaprasong intersection.

The Bangkok Post says the PM plans to unveil “new details” about last year’s violence:

At their campaign rally in the Ratchaprasong area today Democrats plan to release new details on who may have killed 92 people during the political unrest in April and May last year, say party executives.

Earlier, the Nation said the party is:

ready to face the consequences of its plan to rally at Ratchaprasong and express its views on the bloody military crackdown last year…

MCOT notes that Puea Thai says its red shirt supporters should steer clear of the gathering:

The Pheu Thai Party on Wednesday issued a statement asking its members and supporters to stay away from the Democrat Party rally at Ratchaprasong, citing concerns over possible disturbances by third parties.

I plan to attend the rally this evening and will be Tweeting (@newley) photos and observations.

More soon…

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Democrats say they’ll rally at Rajaprasong on Thurs.

Today’s Bangkok Post reports that the Democrats plan to rally on Thurs. at Rajaprasong intersection, but have pledged not to block traffic.

According to Democrat candidate Ong-art Klampaibul:

…the main reason the party chose Ratchaprasong for the campaign rally was to remind voters that this was the location of the main stage for last year’s red shirt protest which damaged the country’s reputation so severely.

On Twitter, @terryfrd notes that Thai TV Channel 9 says:

There are rumours that some red shirts are planning on attending the Dems’ Ratchaprasong rally dressed as ghosts / Ch9

Stay tuned.

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Rajaprasong aftermath: images from today

As promised, here are some of my images from today. There are more in the full photoset.

Again, here’s the rest of the photoset.


More images of the red shirts at Rajaprasong intersection

Following yesterday’s post, I wanted to share some additional images of the red shirts’ protest at Bangkok’s Rajaprasong intersection. Thanks to my brother M, who’s in town visiting, for snapping most of these when my hands were full (see final image). Commentary to come in a later post.

For now, a thought — and yes, this is stating the obvious: Over the last three and a half weeks, the red shirts have occupied Rajadamnoen Rd, conducted their “mobile rallies,” demonstrated outside the 11th army regiment (and forced talks with the PM), and now taken control of one of the city’s most important intersections.

These actions seem to be part of a strategy to slowly, bit by bit, ratchet up the pressure on the Thai government, using non-violent tactics. How long will the government allow this to continue? Will the government simply wait the red shirts out? Is there a breaking point? Will there be a public uprising against the reds as life becomes more difficult for everyday citizens?

There are a few more pics in the full Flickr photoset.


Red shirts occupy Rajaprasong intersection: photos from today

Red shirt protesters moved their demonstrations to the middle of Bangkok’s central business district yesterday (Sat.), shutting down the Rajaprasong intersection.

This is one of the Thai capital’s crucial intersections, where Phloenchit Road (lower Sukhumvit) and Rajadamri Roads bisect one another, and where the Chidlom Skytrain (BTS) station is located.

The Erawan Shrine is is also here, and several high-end shopping malls — such as CentralWorld — are in this area. The malls all seem to be closed, as are several of the elevated walkways.

There are also several embassies within a 15 minute walk, and the commercial and residential real estate surrounding this intersection is some of Bangkok’s most expensive.

Here’s an IHT story about the red shirts’ move to this location, and here’s one from the BBC.

The government gave the protesters a deadline of 9 p.m. Sat. night to leave; the demonstrators refused. It’s unclear what will happen next.

I just got back home from surveying the scene there. Here are some images.

As you’ll see, there are many thousands of red shirt supporters camped out here. There is generally the same positive, up-beat atmosphere that could be found at the reds’ main protest site, on Rajadamnoen Rd. But I was there from about 11 a.m. until 12 p.m., and the heat was intense, so perhaps a little of the enthusiasm was on the wane.

The logistical arrangements were impressive, with trucks blocking key intersections and red shirt “security guards” stationed at the perimeter of the protest site.

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

Red shirt protesters at Rajaprasong intersection

You can find a few more images in the full Flickr photoset. I will be blogging more here as events unfold. And as ever, you can follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates.