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.


Red shirt protests: images from Sun. and Mon.

Here are some images from the red shirt protests here in Bangkok today (Mon., March 15) and yesterday (Sun., March 14).

Some of these images are from the demonstration at the 11th infantry regiment complex (story from AP here) north of Bangkok today. Others are are of the scenes at Victory Monument today and the happenings at the main protest site along Rajadamnoen Rd. area downtown yesterday.

Here’s a link to the full Flickr photoset.

Stay tuned. The red shirts promise to make a rather dramatic, symbolic move tomorrow…


Two quick videos of yesterday’s red shirt protests

In addition to the images of the red shirt protests I posted yesterday, I wanted to share a couple of mobile phone videos I shot. ((Gadget-related aside: Yes, I took these with my trusty Nokia E71. Its keypad may be too small, but its multimedia capabilities and web browsing are decent.))

These videos are far from masterful, technically speaking, but I wanted to give you a sense of what the demonstrations look and sound like.

Please note that both of these videos were shot yesterday — Sat., March 13, 2010. (The protests are still continuing, and I don’t want there to be any confusion about when I recorded these.)

Here’s a 360-degree look at the red shirts gathered around the main stage area around 6:30 p.m. yesterday. (Direct link to the video is here, and it’s embedded below.)

And here’s a look at pedestrians cheering red shirt protesters near Victory Monument yesterday. (Direct link to the video is here, and it’s embedded below.)


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.


Red shirt protests in Bangkok: day one


Thailand’s anti-government red shirt protesters began gathering here in Bangkok today. All in all, it was a surprisingly quiet day.

The demonstrations, as we know, are expected to culminate with — red shirts say — a protest comprising one million participants on Sun., March 14. Many observers, however, doubt that the reds will be able to muster such a large showing.

Many people here in Bangkok expected the day to be chaotic. Businesses closed early. Schools cancelled classes. And while there were small demonstrations in some parts of city, it was largely a day like any other in central Bangkok.

But more and more demonstrators are expected to begin arriving in Bangkok tomorrow (Sat. the 13th).

This Bangkok Post story summarizes the day’s events. And the Nation has some images here. For some analysis, there’s this story from Reuters. And here’s some context from AP. Meanwhile, Global Voices has this extensive post with background info and links to several online resources.

Stay tuned…

(Image source: Bangkok Post.)


Looking ahead to this weekend’s red shirt protest

Bangkok Post: “Govt lowers security net“:

The cabinet is due today to endorse the invoking of the Internal Security Act to cover all of Bangkok ahead of the red shirt rally this weekend.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, in charge of national security, yesterday said the security monitoring committee would forward its recommendation to invoke the law to today’s meeting of the cabinet.

The law, which makes the armed forces the lead agency in maintaining law and order, has been proposed from Thursday until March 23 because of fears the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship’s protest could extend beyond Sunday.

The committee is also proposing that all districts in Nonthaburi and 22 other districts in Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon also be covered by the act, an army source said.

Those areas were considered major routes or key gathering places for members of the UDD. A final decision on where the act would be put in force apart from Bangkok would rest with the cabinet today, the source said.

Supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra are due to begin flooding into Bangkok on Friday.

The demonstration in the capital is set for Sunday at Sanam Luang and Ratchadamnoen Avenue to ratchet up pressure on the government to quit or dissolve the House to set the stage for a general election.

The UDD says it will be able to gather one million protesters, but the committee chaired by Mr Suthep expected only a six-figure turnout.

And there’s more on the ISA from Reuters: “Thailand to Impose Security Law For Rally“:

The Thai government plans to invoke a tough security law, giving the armed forces broad powers to control a rally in Bangkok by supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a minister said on Monday.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) allows the country’s top security agency, the Internal Security Operations Command, to impose curfews, operate checkpoints and restrict the movement of demonstrators if protests by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) turn violent.

“Based on information we have received, there are many groups of protesters and some may attempt to use violent means,” Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said following a meeting with top security officials, adding that violent acts may include bombings and seizure of government offices.

The ISA, to be formally invoked after a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, would be imposed from March 11 to March 23 in Bangkok and surrounding areas, where anti-government protesters plan to rally to press for new elections.

Following the decision to use the ISA, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva cancelled his planned March 13-17 visit to Australia, a spokesman said, without elaborating.

Thaksin’s red-shirted supporters plan to kick off their rallies in the provinces on March 12 before moving to Bangkok on March 14, merging in the historic heart of the capital.

And there’s also this, from AFP: “Thailand to jail migrants at political rallies — minister“:

Thailand will imprison and hand out heavy fines to any migrant workers who attend mass anti-government rallies in Bangkok this weekend, the labour minister said today.

Migrants would be subject to a five-year jail term and fines of up to 100,000 baht ($3358) if found among protesters loyal to fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who are due to gather in the capital on Sunday.

“Employers will (also) be fined up to 100,000 baht for each migrant worker and (the migrant’s) work permit will be cancelled immediately,” Labour Minister Phaitoon Kaeothong said.

(Emphasis mine.)


Thaksin asset ruling: Images from Thailand’s Supreme Court today

Thailand’s Supreme Court ruled a few hours ago that Thaksin must surrender $1.4 of $2.3 billion in frozen assets.

Here’s an NYT story with the details:

The Supreme Court on Friday confiscated $1.4 billion in frozen assets from the fugitive former prime minister, Thaksin Sinawatra, after finding him guilty of illegally concealing his ownership of a family company and abusing his power to benefit companies he owned.

But it softened the blow by allowing him to keep the remainder of his $2.3 billion fortune, saying that “to seize all the money would be unfair because some of it was made before Thaksin became prime minister.”

I spent several hours at the court house today. Here are some images. As you’ll see, there were dozens of police, crowds of TV crews and photographers, and not many red shirt protesters (though many of them gathered elsewhere).


(Update: Welcome, BP readers. For more posts about Thailand, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and follow me on Twitter.)


Thaksin asset verdict: today’s front pages

Here’s quick look at the front pages of today’s Bangkok Post and the Nation:

The Bangkok Post went with a photo of the Thaksin family and the headline “CRISIS here to stay.”

It’s below the fold in the (crappy cell phone) image here, but a pull-quote for the lead story ((Note that the Post‘s Web site looks different at the moment.)) reads, “Red shirts target not just the govt but also the elite, which the military will protect.”


The Nation, meanwhile, has this: “Let JUSTICE Be Done,” says the headline. It may be too small to read in this image, but it continues with an ominous “though the heavens may fall…”


(Nation image via Nation editor @suthichai on Twitter.)

More soon…

(Update: Welcome, BP readers. For more posts about Thailand, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and follow me on Twitter.)


More on tomorrow’s Thaksin asset ruling: NYT and WSJ stories of note


Two more stories I wanted to point out as we approach tomorrow’s verdict on ousted ex-Prime Minister Thaksin’s frozen assets.

  • First, the New York Times has this piece: “Thailand Bracing for Ruling on Thaksin’s Assets“:

    It begins:

    Friday is “judgment day” in Thailand, with a court set to decide whether to confiscate $2.3 billion in frozen assets belonging to the fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    The government is warning of potential violence by Mr. Thaksin’s supporters if the ruling goes against him. Soldiers and the police have been put on alert, checkpoints are in place, government buildings are under guard and judges have been offered safe houses.

    Some analysts call the warnings propaganda to discredit the opposition, which has said it will mobilize only a small crowd on Friday at the courthouse in Bangkok where the ruling is to be announced.

    Months of demonstrations by Mr. Thaksin’s supporters, continuing rumors of coups and small, symbolic acts of violence, like the firing of a grenade into the empty office of the army commander, have set the capital on edge.

    Newspapers have stoked the sense of urgency, with daily countdowns to “judgment day” and with headlines like one that appeared on Wednesday, in bold, red type, in The Nation: “Exclusive Interview: Absolutely No Coup.”

    And there’s this snippet about the red shirt movement:

    A telecommunications tycoon, Mr. Thaksin apparently retains enough wealth abroad to finance a nationwide political machine. A seizure of his assets frozen in Thailand should have no effect on this, said Thongchai Winijakul, a Thai historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    “It has been almost four years, and the movement is getting bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger without this frozen money,” he said.

    There’s also this quote at the end from Thongchai:

    “The best option for the reds to win is by election,” said Mr. Thongchai, the Thai historian. “No matter what, if they just wait, they have the vote. They are not stupid. They can wait.”

  • There’s also this opinion piece in the WSJ today from academic Thitinan Pongsudhirak: “Moving Beyond Thaksin.” (Note: I understand this story may be subscriber-only, but I’m able to access it fine, viewing it as a non-logged-in subscriber.)

    Thailand is dreading the Supreme Court’s verdict on former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s frozen $2.3 billion in assets, scheduled for tomorrow. No matter how his wealth is disposed, given Thailand’s political polarization the only certainty is that no one will be satisfied. In fact, the conflict will likely intensify as pro- and anti-Thaksin protagonists hunker down for a long battle of attrition.

    Read the whole thing.

(All emphasis mine.)

I’ll be blogging here at (and tweeting) about the verdict tomorrow, as well. So stay tuned…


Anticipation of Friday’s court ruling on Thaksin’s assets


I’ll be writing more about this in future posts, but for the time being, I wanted to point out this WSJ story from today: “Thailand Braces for Thaksin Ruling.” It provides a good overview of the anticipation surrounding Friday’s supreme court ruling on Thaksin’s assets:

Thailand’s leaders are bracing themselves for possible unrest Friday, when a court is due to rule on whether to seize billions of dollars frozen in the bank accounts of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family.

The government has begun massing 20,000 police in the capital in the lead-up to the decision, which local media dub “Judgment Day.”

Political analysts say the verdict—which many expect to trigger the seizure of at least part of the $2.26 billion frozen in Mr. Thaksin’s family accounts—presents a dilemma for the country’s military-backed government.

For a sense of the local media’s treatment on the issue, as referenced in the story, see the Bangkok Post‘s special section, “Thaksin’s Judgment Day.”

Another story worth checking out is this Reuters piece, “Thai ex-PM Thaksin’s assets seizure case.”

Again, more on this in the coming days, I’m sure…

(Image source: WSJ.)