- 19 May, 2010
Yet another open thread on the latest developments in Bangkok and in other parts of Thailand.
This was posted in the Prachatai chronology [http://www.prachatai.net/journal/2010/05/29607]:
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Does anybody have information on if people were taken to the stadium, and if so, if they have been released?
Central Changwatana closed. So much for working off any stress at the gym…
The Governors House by the Ping River in Chiang Mai has been set ablaze.
Ironic as the present Governor oversaw the worst air pollution from rural burning for the month of April 2010 since records have been kept.
While the government uses guns in deadly attacks against folk in Bangkok, in the north they kill with smoke.
I have just walked down Silom Road. There are still six APCs parked there. Each has a twin machine gun turret on top. These were not used this morning, at around 09.00 when the authorities restored order at Lumpini. Water cannon were used to drive the mob back. Then the APCs drove a path through the barriers. The mob fled back down Rajdamri. Tear gas was fired and so were shotguns and rifles. But the casualty figures show that soldiers were ordered to use minimum force.
Bulldozers and BMA trucks are making a priority of clearing the rubber tyre and bamboo stave barricades. It will all be gone soon.
Walking up Rajdamri, it resembles the site of a pop festival that has suddenly and unexpectedly ended. There is abandoned bedding, mats and tents. Even motorcycles, fans, TV sets and electric generators – these are already being salvaged by BMW workers. Boxes of food, bowls of boiled eggs, opened packets of instant noodles, many sacks of fresh vegetables, bottles and tanks of fresh water, power generators. They planned to stay a long time. How did the supplies keep coming in?
More sinisterly a box of petrol bombs with fuses in, all ready for use. Piles of rocks ready for use as missiles. And before the mob left, they smashed light fittings, bus shelters and torched a mobile toilet bus. And how did that get there?
I was able to walk up as far as Rajdamri – Soi Sarasin junction, when soldiers waved me back and I heard one shot fired a distance ahead.
Lumpini is quiet now. There are still plumes of smoke rising from the Lumpini Expressway area. I am told that Central World is on fire and there are fires in other parts of the city.
So much for a democracy movement. It is a merely a trail of wanton destruction left by a mob. And financed by a man whose sole desire is to return as the dictator of Thailand, an egotistic, wicked and immoral man, worse than Marcos, Suharto or Sukarno. And if the Red mob is truly independent, how come they utter not a word of criticism of the man who would finance the destruction of his own country so he can return to be President of a pile of smoking ashes?
FCCT has recently tweeted the following message:
“There are numerous reports that foreign and Thai journalists are being targetted by some elements in the red shirts.”
Tweets of journalists have advised their colleagues to remove their green armbands.
Sympathies to the Italian and other journalists who got shot today and on previous days.
Yes, I can tell you that the PBS TV channel commented on this as the army finished their operation to take control of the protest area.
I got the idea that this was simple expediency – a large enough space to detain and process people taken from Rajaprasong etc.
PS Folk say the house is on fire but another says tyres are being burnt outside – lots of black smoke still rising 6:34 pm
Now the army have taken over TV stations and is broadcasting back-to-back jolly, folksy nationalistic music with archive video or happy flag-waving Thais. What a farce. Will they ever give up on the fairytale?
thailand is burning; the revolution has started: may the Reds be Victorious around the country and may casualties and human suffering be minimised/Seems however that fascists/falangists just invaded Wat Pathum which was declared a sanctionary and shot dead one person (300 are stuck there); 20 Nor Por Chor women and men killed near Henri Dunant Road- Reds they cannot retrieve their bodies/& etc. May the fascists suffer many lifetimes of hell/
From Thai Visa – Central World destroyed by fire.
Mark McKinnon on http://twitter.com/markmackinnon
is with the people still in the wat and outside in the rally site at Rajprasong
he says there is heavy fighting just outside the wat and they are hiding from stray bullets
he seems to be active on Twitter and may be able to answer some questions
Thank you for opening new thread
Update May 19 at 6:46 p.m.
– All TV channels up-linked to special program by CRES
– Fire at Maleenon Building, where Channel 3 locates, fire catches up to 5th floor, helicopter evacuated the news anchors and workers.
– Central World seems to me, severely damaged as the fire still on and fire fighter still can’t get on site despite the nearby building, ZEN department store, is said under control. Siam Paragon is on fire at basement. The springer doesn’t work as the water supply has been shut since the government ordered to siege the protesters. The fire fighters are told it’s dangerous zone. At the temple where elder, women refuge, some said heard gunfire inside.
– AP has these photos (you know my warnings)
– Report says 43 dead, so far.
– CRES announced emergency at many provinces.
– Chiang Mai, Robinson Dept. closed, people fleeing. At the Governor house near Night Bazaar is covered by Red shirts burning tires.
Mark McKinnon said there are about 1000 people sheltering in the wat
Marco, the answer is none of us like propaganda on our TV screens. But we prefer it, to paid mobs occupying the CBD, forcing businesses to close and workers out of work (and many of the shop assistants, restaurant and hotel workers who work there, come from outside the city to earn a living), intimidating those who live and work in the areas they controlled, and looting and burning down buildings.
Anyone considered the idea that Aphisit asks/orders the army to take over (for a while) and imposes marshall law to ‘sort out the lawlessness’?
Thai and English government ‘question time’ style broadcast on all stations hosted by TV bloke
Now that the Thai army is moving decisively against the rioters the world gets to see the true face of the Red Shirts: arson, looting, attacking journalists, calls for terrorism and guerrilla warfare against the government.
The Red Shirts have forfeited any moral high ground they once had, if they had any to begin with.
They’re no better than the rioters in East Los Angeles or Detroit.
see forum http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/bangkok-gripped-looting- arson for an alternative to Jim Taylor’s views
Video of the Provincial Hall getting burnt down in Udon Thani
Photos of the burning of the Provincial Hall in Ubon
If anyone has video’s or photo’s of the other cities where the unrest is ongoing and government buildings, banks and malls are getting burnt down please post the links.
Chiang Mai, Kalasin, Mukdahan, Korat, Khon Kaen and the other cities where its all happening.
This seems to be the people of Thailand returning fire. The “sniper head shots” delivered from the Elite are being repaid with burning down your symbols it seems. Real “eye for an eye” stuff.
The government is hated, they could have avoided everything by calling elections months ago and yet the cling on to power regardless of the cost.
They do not have tanks and an army, so they cannot hold a coup.
They do not have the power to influence the judicial system to get verdicts their way.
The only power the Reds have against the corruption of the Yellow Elite is the power of demonstration, and if they Yellow Elite crack down on that, the the power of targeted violence against the symbols of the Elite (being Banks, Malls and Government Offices).
You see, if the Reds had the tanks they could have held a “bloodless” coup just like the Yellows did in 2006.
If the Reds had the power to corrupt the judiciary they could have avoided having their political party disbanded.
So here they are now, when the demonstration is cracked down on, resorting to the only thing they have.
For months the reds were non-violent, they only started when they were provoked after the government cut off their PTV channel (whilst allowing the pro-Yellow ASTC to keep spouting its lies).
The world can see whats going on, even more clearly now.
The red struggle is not over, it appears to be just starting.
Jim Taylor: what’s your source for this: “20 Nor Por Chor women and men killed near Henri Dunant Road”? When did this occur?
Wonder why they attacked the Malenond Building and Channel 3’s office. Pracha Malenond was a Thaksin crony.
Charles: moral high ground didn’t prevent the government to kill them since the 10 of april. Didn’t seem very useful.
Do you know how you would react in front of an army killing your friends ?
well, Charles F. deserves a rebuke: people are angry, hurt and bitterly disappointed. No one should endorse public displays of anger but under the circumstances there are lots of reasons why this is happening as it is: the fascist illegimate emplaced govt bought it on themselves by refusing to engage in constructive negotiations (based on the right of both parties equally to present counter positions for considerations). They killed not only people’s aspirations but any sense of reasoned electoral democracy in the forseeable future. Killing my own unarmed brothers and sisters I would also be furious when the outside sits and does nothing or dangles a few ineffective conciliatory and weak placatory remarks…As the Reds represent the majority people and have suffered under the regime past four years, I’d say they hav good reason to be pissed off…
Giles comment –
Video of todays crackdown –
Erewhon, I accept your point, but what they were broadcasting was beyond the pale, and it does not have to be either of these things. Such propaganda is just ridiculous under the circumstances
Erewhon – not really the time for a discussion on the Thai media and government controlled propaganda, but the current TV programme with its perfectly ironic theme of ‘Thai love Thai,’ is reprehensible and pathetic.
If the free people of the of the land of the free are so full of mutual love and respect for each other, how come they need this rot shoved down their throats pretty much 24/7, especially during times of national crisis? Surely, it’s an theoretical oxymoron, , isn’t it ?
And it also doesn’t say a lot about the royal’s confidence in their own people to mindlesslessly and unthinkingly revere them as, I imagine, they would like.
Back to this one another day, I hope.
country under military rule, soldiers allowed to shoot whoever they want, journalists threatened and killed, red shirt movement exploded into widespread chaos.
thailand’s just ready for its big smooth succession.
We must be in the scorched earth phase that was planned in the event the protest was broken up by the government. If Jim Taylor is correct and the next phase is full blown revolution, I wonder what kind of political system the reds have in mind for Thailand, if they win.
so all of you red shirt sympahtizers are cheering the burning and destruction of private property!?!? What a joke. Any comment decrying the destruction or factual account of what is going on gets “thumbs down”. Maybe adding this “good comment/bad comment” thing wasn’t such a good idea.
Why are these morons burning down their own town halls? You want these Einsteins in charge of the whole country?
# 14 : Erewhon
Could you please stop refering your openion as “WE”? I don’t like the propaganda on MY TV screen and I do not prefer it because I felt like a 10 years old child starting to learn English in Thailand by repeating a teacher saying:
“Goodmoring. How are you doing?”
“I’m fine. Thank you and you?”
“I am fine. Thank you. Please sit down”
It’s all been programmed…
@ Charles F #17
The world also see the true face of the Thai government: tyrant, liar, killer, selfterror and the hidden power hunger agenda against its own people. Controlling the country by creating fear.
They are not better than a criminal.
Charles, # 17
So from now on, let us call Abhisit the saviour of Thailand and confer him honorary degree on peace studies.
Since history is always written by the winners, I’m afraid your right.
The heroic Thai army won the historic battle against fierce red terrorists armed to the teeth with old tires, bung fai and M-150 glass-fragment grenades.
Let’s hope they restore order soon, so we can enjoy the blissful calm courtesy of the friendly military junta.
I’m glad the looming prospect of snap elections has been avoided (how awful that would have been!). Miscellaneous death and destruction of uneducated peasants (sorry, terrorists… hard to keep up) is certainly worth it.
Speaking of censorship and media manipulation, Thai PBS just aired film of two red shirt leaders, Jatuporn and the tall guy with a moustache, arriving by helicopter at an army base in, I think, Lopburi or Petchuapkirikan.
It seems the government is at pains to demonstate some degree of tranparency on their present fate, at least for the moment.
BANGKOK: — The Criminal Court Wednesday approved the request of the Department of Special Investigation to issue arrest warrant against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and nine other people on charge of terrorism.
DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit said the nine other people wanted on the arrest warrant are Adisorn Piengket, Wiphuthalaeng Phattanaphumthai, Phayup Punket, Jeng Dokjik, Wichian Khaokham, Aree Krainara, Suksek Poltua, Surachai Thewarat and Rachata Wongyod.
Borrowed from Thai Visa here:
JohnH @ #15
Anyone considered the idea that Aphisit asks/orders the army to take over (for a while) and imposes marshall law to ’sort out the lawlessness’?
Or that a PAD-style 50% voting system is introduced.
Or that Bangkok and all provinces north thereof are now Pattani – and probably will be for years to come.
Sadly, this promises to be a very long civil war.
My officemates here in Narathiwat were discussing the situation in Bangkok and the northern/northeastern provinces. The consensus was ‘LOL uneducated buffaloes getting what they deserve.’ Laughter and everything.
I called them on it, and the response from my most outspoken coworker was to the effect that at least the army is turning its guns on a more worthy target than folks here. I told her that, from my chats with redshirts during my vacation in BKK, the opinion was mutual. She sniffed, “They’re just stupid. At least we in the south are educated.”
That particular coworker is a bit of a drama queen and to be taken with a grain of salt; all the same, I don’t think I’ll be spending much time in my office tomorrow. I don’t want to take sides in all this, but the prejudice (and, sometimes, open racism) of both sides is unacceptable. May everyone come to their senses sooner rather than later.
2 months of occupying this prestigious area none of the stores were plundered and no red shirt went around and shot anybody in the head as had happened in LA.
This people took up primitive defenses when the killing started. So the comparison is a statement that is in fact embarrassing you. It’s advised you take a closer look at what happened there but also check out Greece, none of the people that were actually really destructive and violent were shot.
Turning water supplies off to make the crowd go way shows to be another miscalculation of the tactic and strategy of this totally bizarre surrealistic happening. Now sprinklers do not work and the fire cannot be extinguished in the large department stores. A security risk the government obviously did not even think off – so I wonder what else they did not consider which will backfire in the end.
You cannot reason people by force – only convince them with well chosen words that have credibility and by showing that you respect their dignity.
Getting the army in had the opposite effect. They should have never shown their face.
Did you really assume it will be all over today – just shoot them all dead and problem is gone? So you can proceed with your life despite the ones that were killed by state force?
No government survived on a long run ignoring the needs of the majority of their population but they always fell prey to it. It’s just a matter of time.
I just wish and hope that the people like the Flagman Nattawut Paentong of Samut Prakarn, General Khattiya Seh-Daeng Sawasdipol, and the others didn’t die in vain!
May Their Souls Rest In Peace.
Update at 9:26 p.m. 19 May
– Injured people inside Pratum temple need help but can’t get any ambulance as the gunfire still around.
– Reports of gunfire at Victory Monument leaving many injured. Also a department store, Center One is on fire.
Prathumwanaram temple [Safe zone] is not safe anymore 2 peoples shot dead by Sniper in front of the temple and inside safe zone there are 7 people shot dead the bullet came from park inside the temple and 10 are injures.
Please RT. People around me are dying because they can’t get to hospital across the road because of fighting #bangkok
If there is anything you can do, PLEASE HELP THEM!!!
Please try to refrain from ranting that all evil in Thailand revolves around Thaksin. The reds are protesting for a multitude of reasons just as frustrated Bangkok expats like you have a multitude of personal reasons for continually condeming their actions on blogs.
Claiming that all red shirts are brainless zombies on thaksins leash is akin to claiming all Bangkok expats are brainless zombies who are happy to see civilians shot if those civilians happen to interupt their shopping. Both statements are accurate for a certain number of individuals but most people develop their political outlook in far more intelligent ways.
Personally I think that Thaksin and Abhissit have proved themselves to be equally unfit as prime ministers. Yet my opinion is only an opinion. What really counts in this matter is the opinion of the Thai electorate and they have stated their case with extreme clarity in recent years. Yet, and herein lies the real problem within thailand, their choices have been repeatedly stomped into the ground by a power hungry yellow clique.
The reds elected Thaksin twice in a row, only to see him illegally removed by a yellow led military coup. The electorates response to this injustice was to vote in yet another red government. Through a series of highly creative tactical moves including coup controlled constitutional change to suit the yellows, banning all opposition media, using the judiciary as a political tool to ban all key red leaders from politics, house disolution, sacking a PM over a cooking show, branding protesters as terrorists then killing them and assasination of a red leader to drive home the point.
The result is that we now have a situation where the group who the Thai electorate chose to lead the nation in the last 3 consecutive elections are either on the run, in exile, dodging sniper bullets, locked up, banned from politics or dead.
So I say to you mister Erewhon. Its not only Thaksin who is trying to compete with Suharto and the likes to create a dictatorship. Im sure at this point you are itching to scream that thaksin bought the last 3 elections from the brain dead rural poor.
Well having lived in Thailand on and off for the past 16 years including the north east I can assure you that the democrat vote buyers are up there every single election buying their votes alongside the reds. It’s actually a reasonably level playing field as far as vote buying goes.
So with both sides buying votes and with both sides having corrupt and slightly evil leaderships how do we settle which side should lead????? I say we let the thai people vote on it….. And that one my friend has already been decided……….. repeatedly………..
Unarmed protester fairy tales:
What do you expect? These unheard people with no power hurt, injured, and angry.
Let me put this in simple English and simple thinking.
I am a university graduate and could have done a PhD on a scholarship if I want. A year ago, there was this neighbor doing endless extremely noisy renovations above me for 5 months non-stop beyond midnight and I have a newborn. I tried every civil means with a smile, then called police to help mediate to no avail. One night I lost it – dump a load of garbage in front of their house after kicking the door twice screaming. I was wrong of course. They called the police and I got the reprimand and the find. Lucky me, no jail.
The poor Issaans – Bangkok used that word like ‘nigger’. Issaans were the laziest, stupidest people (and do add the ‘ee’- lao and khmer) according to Bangkokians. As if it was a crime to be born in Northeast Thailand. They work shitty jobs for shitty pay while their Bangkok masters ate imported food and drink imported wine. Once in a while these rich folks would head out for charity fundraising rising millions of Baht dressed in expensive Thai Silk dresses and pose for photographs. The poor villagers finally gets a bag of second hand clothes, and some bags of rice. (And before TRT tried to break the rice merchant cartel, farmers get less than B6000 for a tonne of rice so a 10kg rice sack is very very cheap) You wonder where those millions went to.
These people from the north had asked many times for free elections and were ignored. They watched what the higher class educated yellow shirts did, how many months they held the PPP government hostage, and how those yellow shirts went unpunished.They spent months, up to a year, hosting fairs selling sweets and crafts raising funds and organizing. They finally made their way to Bangkok prepared to do the same thing. They set up camp, it was a very well planned and well-set up camp. It was a camp one can live peacefully in it easily for years. They were prepared to wait it out. They wanted new elections to select the PM of their choice. They wanted the constitution changed back to the one before the military changed it. They wanted those responsible for destroying democracy held accountable.
Newcastle born, Eton bred, Oxford graduated Ahbisit did not even give them a month (April 10). Then he sent in snipers, killing a protester leader (Seah Daeng) right in front of a foreign journalist during an interview and there was not even an international outcry against that blatant act of state sanctioned murder before an international reporter. Most local Thai media reviled them. Nation and BKK post are busy calling them thugs and linking them to Taksin. Government called them terrorists when a few bad eggs cause some trouble (such massive gatherings are bound to attract trouble-makers) Hardcore elements slowly gained ground in the midst of brutality inflicted atop years of scorn and degradation and inevitable sense of betrayal.
This is the deep-seated anger you are seeing now running amok. That sense of betrayal, that no one cares. That sense of helplessness that there is nothing they can do anyway.
The running amok is not right, it is not legal. But it is not hard to see this coming.
Here in NM, many commentators are accused of harboring a Red Shirt bias. For some that may be so, but for me, it is different.
Many years ago, Clifford Geertz gave a lecture that was reprinted called “Anti Anti Relativism.” He drew an analogy to abortion; nobody is really PRO abortion, he said, they are better described as being anti anti abortion. Likewise, anthropologists who promote cultural relativism should be described as being opposed to the opposition to relativism. He isn’t PRO relativism, but against the efforts to reject it.
So it is with many of the writers on NM about the current insurrection, myself included. It isn’t that we endorse the UDD program so much as their opposition (PAD and fellow travellers) is so blatantly dishonest and oppressive. It isn’t that we are blind to Thaksin’s corruption and megalomania, but nor are we ready to dismiss his accomplishments, as are the PAD zealots. I get pulled strongly toward sympathy with the Red Shirts when their opponents are always ready to say it all comes from Thaksin’s money. That is just intellectually dishonest.
See pictures of soldiers raided the sanctuary temple where the women, elders, kids, refuge earlier. Even the monks have been tied, and all eye-folded.
After 27 fire settings, many well distanced from the red zone and strategic only to attract international media, i.e. the stock exchange, one has to question any spontaneity or random rage here. Seems well plotted with hi profile targets and well coordinated sequential timing and seeking maximum casualities. Trying to spark even more chaos and bloodshed.
People reportedly remain stranded in the channel 3 building as only helicopter rescue has been possible for many. At what point is it ok with the NM bloggers to call this premeditated terrorism?
This kind of coordination and planning can come only from strong money support and centralized planning. Nothing grassroots or spontaneous here and I suspect we will see this come to light as the facts reveal themselves. Can anyone possibly assert that these well planned and executed plans can be called part of an overall peaceful and nonviolent movement based on democracy and human rights?
Disgraceful, barbaric, and indefensible disdain for human life.
The true face of the Red Shirts is coming out.
In the meantime, Thaksin told CNN he wasn’t their leader. Anyone with half a brain would know what kind of a liar he is.
A stunning though not unexpected turn of events in Bangkok. Who would have thought that protesters under attack would set the mall on fire? Or that, with the water supply turned off, it would be impossible to extinguish the blaze?
When they ordered the water mains cut, the current leaders made a conscious decision that the lives and property of Bangkok citizens were less important than the war against the protesters.
In any scenario the risk of fire must have been obvious. Perhaps in a high level strategy planning meeting it played out something like this:
Abhisit: ” Cut off the water! See how long they will last then!”
Bangkok Fire Marshall: “That will mean no water for fighting fires… I cannot agree to this!”
Abasit: “Hmmmm… the fires would destroy the mall right? That would mean heavy losses to the elite of Bangkok… and ensure their support in this war…”
I have a question and a suggestion. The question: Does anyone have any information or analysis – whether first-hand or from other sources – about the nature, strength, and evolution of Red Shirt organization? I’ve seen lots of references to factions, but the bases of factions – moderate vs. radical, unarmed vs. armed, Bangkok vs. provincial, central vs. north / northeast – is clear. I think the degree of fragmentation (on both sides, actually) will be an important influence on whether this thing continues to spiral out of control.
My suggestion has to do with the nature of comments on these strings: It would be helpful, at least to me, if contributors would try to specify whether they are offering analyses and explanations on the one hand, vs. opinions as to the virtue, righteousness, legitimacy, etc. of either side. I recognize that there’s often overlap, but some effort to distinguish normative judgment vs. empirically based description and explanation would be helpful.
I noticed the open blog on assumptions on the next in line.
I humbly suggest that you might open a new blog soliciting insights into the red strategy. What is their next tactical move to create more chaos and death in order to destabilize the government.
I suggest we are only on step 3 or 4 of a multi step plan. Anyone want to guess what is next? Not enough dead yet? Not enough international media yet? How far can it go?
Seem like anything against red shirt are not very popular here.
Even personal first hand experience is considered to be of a poor quality comment.
So much for freedom of speech, liberty and equal rights.
Well, I suppose that we are just human. Only would like to hear what we like, unfortunately this will lead to self-indulgence.
Sometimes majority can be wrong.
So sad. The folly of governments know no limits.
In Thailand, they disenfranchised 60% of the voters and removed their elected government by military coup. They then proceeded to remove two more elected governments – one, a very popular former Bangkok governor for cooking on television. Unbelievable.
After this insult, they refer to the majority as “uneducated, stupid buffaloes. Being called a buffalo in Thai is a grave insult.
Many ask, if this is all they want, why the resistance, why the fear of a popular vote, why the willingness to sacrifice innocent lives and seriously damage the nation?
So, as the casualties mount, the question begs an answer; Why not allow the people the right to vote?
It’s worth a quote from German Field Marshal Gerd Von Rundstedt, as Germany was losing its war of aggression: “Make peace, you idiots.” Hitler replaced him.
Long Live The King!
The government should be held to account for the killings of civilians over the past few weeks. If Abhisit, Suthep et al have any decency, they will resign when the situation stabilises.
Nevertheless, the red leaders’ insistence that theirs is a peaceful struggle has been exposed as a lie. Was this mere rhetoric? http://play.kapook.com/vdo/show-94003. It seems not.
There are an awful lot of people viewing this in good-guys-versus-bad-guys terms. It’s much messier than that.
The ‘poor’ are visible on the streets, and the genuine desire for justice many of them express is moving. But behind them are people who are not poor, looking to get back to the trough. Chief among those is a man whose contempt for human rights and democracy were all too clear when he was in power. Many of those now cheering on the ‘revolution’ seem to have forgotten that.
There cannot be peace in Thailand so long as this man aims to return to power. The PAD – whose own illegal and lamentably unpunished activities were the reds’ inspiration for all this – will never allow it.
We all want to see genuine democracy in Thailand. In the long-run it may happen. Sadly not before a lot more blood.
Why is the army blindfolding handcuffed women and monks?
Pleum (Nattakorn Devakula) has a theory that sounds flimsy at first, but I’ll mention for heck’s sake: that the arson attacks are being orchestrated by anti-red shirt business groups.
He notes that the obvious targets of red shirt rage (ASTV, Nation, Prem’s house, King Power) went left untouched. But that Channel 3 (which runs a Sorayuth’s popular Thaksin-sympathetic talkshow) and CentralWorld (Pleum claims that Suthikiart Chirathiwat is close with Thaksin).
I’m not sure I buy it though, because ASTV and Nation are so far away, and Prem’s house was sure to be heavily guarded, wheras Ch 3 and CTW were conveniently close by. But who knows, Pleum may know facts we don’t.
Nattakorn Devakula, has noted that amongst the target of arson & destruction. Few were curiously excluded from that fate.
and the list goes on.
Since the reds is clearly the culprit, it’s surprising that their most hated enemies are offered immunity from it.
He thus concluded that this is indeed a planned attack. One that capitalized on the chaos soon after, and had known beforehand of it.
As always full version with photos on sopranz.blogspot.com
part 2 is about the Ratchaprasong area, i need to rest now, will be available tomorrow.
After the dispersal- Part 1
I woke up this morning and red that the protest site was under attack from the military. Turn on tv to see tanks moving into the barricades and taking them down. Panitan face on every Tv channel reassured the population this was done for their own safety and that the situation was under control. I watched out of the window and a big smoke column was coming from the direction of Rama IV. Seemed hardly under control. It was not the usual black smoke from tires but a bigger grey cloud. I waited for the sounds of shots to go down and grab my bikes, in the direction of Ngan Dumplhi. I arrived there and the street is just destroyed. Few people there, people I have never saw before who walks around taking pictures and helping put out small fires. The street is covered in filth, food everywhere fermenting in the hot sun. A small crowd hidden behind a wall stares at the tall building overlooking the soi, trying to spot snipers. The soi is completely opened in the front, no tires left. The building that at the corner with Rama IV, an office of Kasikorn Bank, has been completely burned, leaving an empty blackened shell with electric wire swinging from the light pole to the street. The building is dripping with the water that has been thrown at it to put out the fire. Very very close to the electric wires. In front of the burned scheleton of a building, two men sit, one guy is a local resident, the other a Thai journalist and the casually discuss about what is going on around the city. I talk to them for a while and then walk with the Thai journalist down Rama IV. As you get out of Ngan-Dumplhi, a barricade of tires sits in the middle of the street, down Rama IV. We passed it and walk into a destroyed area, burned buildings and phone boots, smashed ATMs and a thick layer of burned gum everywhere. My shoes stick to the pavement, before washing in dark water pool. People around are taking pictures, walking around in a stunning silence. On the street banks branches and 7-11 have been surgically burned, somehow managing to keep the buildings around undamaged. The street is completely covered in debris and the rests of burned tires create bass-relief of weird black intersecting circles. I keep walking down the big road, a man is taking pictures, stops and stares at a burned phone booth thrown on the ground. Somehow he does not seem to be able to stand that vision, while was indifferently photographing burned buildings around. He stands there, silence around. I stand close to him. “How do you feel about what is going on?” I ask. “Very bad” he says without taking his eyes off the phone boot. “very very bad’ he repeats. “and now the leaders fled, it is freedom. Everybody can do whatever they want.” He moves to staring the street, the tension accumulating on his forehead. He snaps out. “Where are you from?” he stares at me. “I am sorry, an Italian journalist just died.” “I am sorry to, for many Thais”. I walk away leaving him standing there, stamped on his face the same worries you see around on people from both sides of the political spectrum or just on friends as they sip a beer. [ continues …]
I think Charles F’s comment that “They’re no better than the rioters in East Los Angeles or Detroit” is more apt than he himself probably believes. If we look at major urban riots – and go back especially to ’60s ones like Newark, Watts, Detroit (again) etc – I believe the accepted wisdom is not that these were just staged by thrillseeking hooligans, but that they had their roots in serious social dysfunction. I believe the same holds for European riots of the past few decades (Brixton, Paris etc). So I can buy that analogy – but come to a sharply different conclusion.
@ Glenn and the other shrill voices pointing to the burned buildings as proof of the red-shirts’ bestial nature. Nobody is ‘rejoicing’ in property destruction, though there certainly are many who are ‘rejoicing’ in the massacre of unarmed protesters. With all the propaganda, it’s even hard to blame them. After all, for months, they have been fed a steady course of attacks on the reds, calling them thugs, buffalos, terrorists, etc. I still don’t understand what you people want from the poor of Thailand? You don’t like who they vote for, you don’t like it when they complain about coups. You don’t like it when they protest–(some of) you seem to enjoy it when they get shot–and you don’t like it when they defend themselves, or express outrage at the killing of their brothers and sisters. They grow your food, clean your houses and your streets, drive your buses and trains, guard your buildings, police your streets, bring in tourist dollars with their culture and what are they asking in return? An election. You blame them for tarnishing Thailand’s image, and hurting the tourism industry. Maybe they should have just occupied the airport, huh? That was good for tourism right? Anyway, that only took a week to topple the government, with fewer casualties so yeah, they probably should have just done that. Like I’ve said before: it’s not democracy that you want, so stop pretending. Come out and be proud of your fascist and dictatorial fantasies. Be honest with yourselves.
Serious quetions raised about a red shirt leader
Leeyiankun and others:
here is the english transcript of Arisman speaking to the Red shirts on
March 17, 2010. It seems to contradict your assertion that the arson was not planned. Perhaps you could watch it and tell us if the translation is accurate.
“Bring 75cc or one liter,with one million of us we have 1 million liters of gasoline. I guarantee you Bangkok will turn into a land of flame. Bangkok will immediately turned into flame.
Those who live in the country, it’s ok if you can’t come. If anything happens gather at your provincial office, not need to negotiate, burn down your city as well. No need to use weapons, when you see a soldier, get near them, three of you and tie him up, seize his guns, tie his hands. With this execution, I guarantee you red mob will definitely win.”
I used to consider myself somewhat left wing before I started reading this blog site. Did somebody move the goal posts?
As someone once said, ” If you are not a socialist when you are young – you have no heart. If you are not a capitalist when you are older – you have no brain.” Perhaps I am just too old.
Do posters think it is acceptable for the media to transmit these inflammatory messages to the public? Does this constitute a right to free speech?
It is a pity that the situation has come to this. You cannot have a peaceful protest with soldiers shooting you. Yes, it might look better for the reds to link arms and die non-violently, but then again, the Thai media certainly would not show it. I think you are not putting yourself in the situation that the protesters find themselves in. The years of perceived injustices done to them, the months of peaceful protest, the rejection of their demands, and the violent crackdown by the army. Many have reacted in great fear and sadness, while many others have reacted with great anger. Arisman seems to be in the latter camp. No, there is nothing ‘productive’ about burning buildings… but neither is there about shooting your own citizens. As for ‘free speech’, if such a concept had any application to Thailand, perhaps this entire situation would have been avoided. Why is there such a double-standard when it comes to the red-shirts? Are there PAD leaders in jail-cells, awaiting the imminent arrival of their UDD counterparts? Of course not! They have government positions! Has the Thai press ever once suggested that maybe the government consider a single demand of the protesters? No! Instead, they harp on the reds for not being grateful for the ‘generous’ concessions of the handsome and talented Mr. Abhisit. Hell, the fascist PAD even gave Abhisit a hard time for not just shooting the protesters outright!
Mick, I made no insulting remarks about the Redshirts and your language is intemperate. Law and order must return. Business must resume. Reds and Yellows should be prosecuted. The government should impliment real solutions to bring economic advancement to the provinces. But in supporting Thaksin unconditionally (as you obviously do) you conveniently disregard his corruption and abuse of power during fiove years of office. And if he returns, it will be multiplied. There will be elections this year or next. But if Newin’s group (or other smaller parties) then decide to form a coalition with either Peua Thai or the Democrats, it’s also their decision, isn’t it? And I guess you would support ther right of smaller parties to ally with any other party they choose? BTW have just spoken to a client who has lost both his shops in Central World. Insurers have told him they will rely on the riot exclusion clause in the policy and he will get nothing. So, Mick, who should compensate him? Thaksin? The Naresuan seven? Thai taxpayers (that includes me, does it include you?)
Lots of Americans hated Bush but they didn’t burn Washington, they waited for the elections, they waited for eight years.
Reds burned Bangkok because they couldn’t wait eight months.
Pardon me, but people must be delusional to think that all this chaos was only about tweaking an election date as they insisted during negotiations back in March.
Jim Taylor# 9 “Seems however that fascists/falangists just invaded Wat Pathum which was declared a sanctionary and shot dead one person (300 are stuck there); 20 Nor Por Chor women and men killed near Henri Dunant Road- Reds they cannot retrieve their bodies/& etc.”
I’ve heard rumours that many of the killings during the last few weeks we’re commited by Thaksin’s black shirt militia in order to ‘guarantee’ martyrs. Perhaps they are true? Perhaps you are a little hasty in apportioning blame in the absence independantly verifiable facts?
Are you able to provide credible evidence to show that 20 people were killed near Henri Dunant Road? Are you sure that 100’s weren’t killed as you asserted during the Song Kran riots last year? Or have I missed the point? Is New Mandala just a cosy hang out for those who like to concoct elaborate conspiracy theories and share fictional accounts of the goings on in fantasy Thailand?
I found from Thai enews website yesterday. I think this is true. Kasien Techapeera, a Thai academic, said ..essentially what the reds were doing –whether you called it people’s revolts, wars or fights, etc, was the fundamental truth that “they are willing to die, but they are not willing to be governed by YOU!!.. when they have no fears, they rise up and say that they cannot tolerate it any more!!”
If you are cornered and have no where else to stand in this society, the only thing you would do is to fight!! This is what is happening. The underprivileged have been coerced, oppressed, beaten, killed, previously quietly, now openly– and they are fighting back in their own ways. When negotiations were not given a chance to succeed by Abhisit, violence begets violence. Abhisit has no one to blame except himself!! His government is a failure with no skills in public administration, whatsoever!!
I would like anyone to explain how the following definition does NOT apply to the Red-Shirts: “Terrorism: the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political …reasons.”
And if you are not sure watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M9XiJoWSSs
(arisaman urge mob to burn bkk_1.mpg)
@ Erewhon Please leave this thread alone. Your government has its run of controlling,blocking and censoring information in Thailand already. Forget about trying to paint the reds in an any worse picture than they have been portrayed already. Your privy councel,military backed government are the true terrorists and thugs in this. It may work on you and the so called “educated middle class thais” but it will not work on free thinking people who can freely find their own sources of fair and balanced information, and make up their own minds. Your comments are clearly not appreciated here.
Yes, it is true. It is difficult to put myself in the protesters position. I can only write from my own perspective, having lived here for 13 years.
I was pissed off about the yellow shirt campaign as well. As far as I know, Abhisit was not involved in the campaign and came to power
afterwards. Like all Thai leaders he does not have complete control of the government or armed force and I would guess any move to punish the yellow leaders would see him out of the job, and someone less moderate installed. . I feel he is someone who really has
Thailand’s best interests at heart and is doing the best he can in a impossible situation – he is stuffed whatever he does. I can’t see how people can call him a fascist. Given the choice between him and the red shirt leaders (who seem to been espousing a doctrine of hatred) I prefer the former. I just hope Abhisit can offer something concrete to the red supporters.
“fascists/falangists just invaded Wat Pathum”
No one invaded the temple. People trying to leave were shot.
The whole stretch from Central to Siam Square was a no go zone both for medics and firefighters.
“As far as I know, Abhisit was not involved in the campaign and came to power”
Hmm… You said you lived here for 13 years and you don’t know that Abhisit help Yellow Shirt got control of government building? He was there with the Yellow shirt that day. Not just being there but in the front line himself.
You need to study about the dark side of this man more.
Yes I do pay taxes in Thailand, and have done so for many years. It’s interesting that you accuse me of unconditional support for Thaksin, a wildly misguided assumption. In fact, it is my opinion that Thaksin deserves to spend many years in prison for his crimes, right alongside the likes of Abbhisit. The rule of law should prevail for both men. As I pointed out quite clearly in my previous post, both men have committed heinous crimes against the Thai nation and are ‘equally unfit’ to rule.
The point which appears to have gone over your head is the fact that what you and I personally feel about Thai leaders amounts to a couple of opinions. What really matters is what the bulk of the Thai electorate feels and time and time again they have voted out the yellows, to sit back and watch the yellows leap up using the military and or a coup installed judiciary to abduct the reigns of power. The inevitable result, is of course, the uprising we see across Thailand today. After repeatedly going through the electoral process to yet again watch an elite minority steal the reigns of power, the reds are desperate and have quite simply run out of options and patience.
My point is this:
For peace to reign in Thailand, the elites must accept the will of the majority of the electorate whether they feel their chosen candidates are evil or not. Maintaining power through the traditional yellow tactics of military coups, emergency laws, coup installed judiciary, coup written constitutions, government controlled media, snipers, political assasinations etc etc is no longer acceptable to the increasingly sophisticated thai electorate. Until they can come to terms with this reality, ever increasing quantities of blood will be spilled as Thais fight for their democratic rights. If the elite still continue to live in denial and deny the rights of the electorate, blood will continue to flow long after Thaksin drops dead of old age because the issue of democracy and freedom are infinitely bigger and more powerful than any man..
As for your friend who lost his possessions in world plaza, I genuinely feel sorry for him. What happened to him is unjust and I wish it never happened. But if he walks outside today and meets the grieving mother of a stone throwing teenager who was snipered through the head from a distance of 200 meters at the bequest of an unelected government, I hope he is open minded enough to realize that things for him and his family could be a great deal worse.
Today’s office gossip was more mournful than yesterday’s. Ms. Drama Queen was upset as she spoke of the burning of the grand temple of consumerism. We all shared memories of walking those glitzy aisles in the good ol’ days. Ms. Oldtimer reminsiced about the endless selection of clothes at Zen, and I described the regional Japanese exhibitions at Isetan. Ms. DQ then started counting off luxury cosmetic brands on her fingers. “Don’t you wish you were there right now?” I teased.
“Yes!” She seemed surprised that I even had to ask.
“Next to the ‘buffaloes’ and ‘home-out’ people?” (That last is an inside joke at the expense of another coworker.)
“Of course! I could take everything I want!”
Oh humans. Never change.
Dear Karin Dean
“Terrorism: the unlawful use or threatened use of force …” means governments are not agents of terror – so the Rape of Nanking, the fire bombing of Dresden & Tokyo or the Xmas bombing of Hanoi and Irael’s management of Palestine were or are not terrorism?
There is a phenomenon we call state terrorism, mostly legal, which is by several orders of magnitude more terrific than Khun Arisman suggesting soldiers should be disarmed or that bottles of petrol be prepared to torch buildings if need be.
Do you honestly see no connection between Abhisit and the PAD? All the PAD leaders have been loudly supportive of Abhisit, at least one is a sitting member of his party! Another, Sondhi has used his media empire exclusively to sing the praises of Abhisit, and demonize his opponents. I think that it is safe to say that Abhisit has the support of the PAD, and equally safe to say that he is glad of it.
Your statement “Given the choice between him and the red shirt leaders (who seem to been espousing a doctrine of hatred) I prefer the former”, is ridiculous for two reasons: first of all, do not mistake anger for hatred. Anger is what you hear from the red-shirts, whose one demand has always been only for new elections. They feel they have been robbed of democracy, and they are angry. Hatred is what you hear from many of their opponents in the PAD and the media, who describe the protesters as ‘buffaloes’, ‘terrorists’, ‘king-haters’, ‘thugs’, etc. These are words used to vilify and dehumanize people, and they encourage hatred and violence towards them. Does Mr. Abhisit seem bothered by this kind of ‘support’? I’ve yet to hear him condemn such venom, so can we not easily accuse him of ‘espousing a doctrine of hate’? Furthermore, your statement presents a false choice between Abhisit and “the red shirt leaders”. If you recall, the protesters are demanding ELECTIONS. They are not demanding the installation of one or all of the protest leaders. Who would win the election? I have no idea, and I doubt you do either, yet you ‘prefer’ Abhisit to democratic elections.
You “hope Abhisit can offer something concrete to the red supporters.” Well so do I, my friend, but I’ve got serious doubts that he is willing. After all, in spite of your (fawning) assertion Abhisit “is doing the best he can in a impossible situation”, I saw nothing from him that indicated a willingness to offer anything “concrete” to the reds. Was that really “the best” he could do? If he really had “Thailand’s best interests at heart”, then why didn’t he try a little harder to avert this crisis? And why, now that the protest is largely dispersed, should he be more likely to offer concessions? I would love for Abhisit to prove me wrong, but given his mishandling of the protests, and his fascist support base (PAD), and so much invested in hate-propaganda, I would be very, very surprised.
Leeyianakun @ 58 :
“Nattakorn Devakula, has noted that amongst the target of arson & destruction. Few were curiously excluded from that fate.
Since the reds is clearly the culprit, it’s surprising that their most hated enemies are offered immunity from it.”
And also very strange is the burning of several Big C department stores, which are of course where cheaper goods are sold for those who are a lot poorer than Central World shoppers. Would the Reds be burning their own supporters shopping malls ?
Not also that snipers apparently prevented firemen from entering Central World for several hours.
However, I also read that The Nation WAS attacked – can anyone clarify this ?
Chris Beale 78
I would simply say they were not targets of opportunity (unlike Central World)
Nattakorn is the darling conspiracy theorist for the chattering classes. He is also a poor movie actor. Incidentally it has been also proved that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the 2 fatal bullets and there was no gunman on the grassy knoll. A mundane answer, but true.
When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
Mikeize, you wrote “If you recall, the protesters are demanding ELECTIONS. They are not demanding the installation of one or all of the protest leaders. ”
They were offered elections in November but turned them down. Whatever fears they may have had regarding the charges against them they should have acted in the best interests of their supporters and their own aims and accepted Abhisit’s offer.
Polyphemus @79 :
you’re avoiding the question :
“burning of several Big C department stores, which are of course where cheaper goods are sold for those who are a lot poorer than Central World shoppers.”
Why would the Reds be burning their own supporters shopping malls ?
The Red demand has been for:
1. Dissolution of the parliament now (thereby depriving the present government of the chance to pass another budget which no doubt would include huge handouts for the military) and
2. A general election. Then the incoming government could choose the new head of the army to ensure, hopefully, not another coup is mounted against it.
A November election would frustrate both these aims and I cannot understand how the Reds could have taken the offer seriously. Of course now we know Abhisit did not put forward the offer in good faith.
See Ricky’s answer above.
Chris Beale 82
Because maybe the boys with the matches weren’t aware which stores were on the red list or the black list and just like playing with matches?
There is not always a grand plan or even a conspiracy. Were the 500 deaths in Songkran planned this year? Were they prevented? If so which government is responsible?
p.s. I believe it’s safe to shop at Esplanade…..
Mick, I pretty well agree with everything in yr last post. Order must be restored. Business should resume. The judiciary should be impartial and not manipulated. Elections should take place this year. Election results should be respected. But Mr T should stay in his self chosen exile. He is corrupt and has abused power enough. Let the UDD form a political party and campaign for votes. Lets see what happens. Erewhon.
Polyphemus – unless there’s a genuine reconciliaton worked out soon, it won’t be safe to shop anywhere in Thailand, especially not Bangkok or north thereof.
It will be shop till you drop, Pattani-style !
The events at Wat Pathum seem to me to be very important. If there is conclusive verification of the pictures posted in the link above (showing bound monks) or of the stories in the Independent newspaper and by McKinnon alleging shooting by soldiers in the temple complex, there is going to be a big reaction in Isaan. Does anybody have any proof that the monk pictures are genuine? Some expat posters on other forums are syaing they are fake monks or monks from elsewhere than Wat Pathum.
Re: Chris Beale’s questions about BigC Supermarket
Big C is part of Central Group, same with Central World shopping mall. The Central Group is owned by Chirathivat family, who are said to be financial supporters of the Democrats.
Chris, the following may also be of interest to you. It is a vdo of Red Shirt Englishman who threatened to loot and burn down Central World shopping mall not long before it happened.
After the vdo was exposed, he was later interviewed by British press, here are some things he said:
“I did not do any looting. I did not set fire to anything, but those who did are my brothers. I am not worthy of them.”
“The attack on Channel 3 was organized. I saw the leaders giving directions. The Red Shirts hated Channel 3. There was a BMW showroom next door which was totally untouched.”
“My friends are professionals. Some of them are ex-police and ex-army. They know exactly what they are doing…. The war is over for the time being. Now everybody is looking for red-shirts. But in two months time things will start up again. The attacks will begin”.
Big C and Diana in Pattani do great business, actually. 🙂 At least, they always seem to be jam-packed when I go. I chuckle a bit when you mention Lanna & Isan seceding, as I can just imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth down here. Those hayseeds have a sit-in for one month, burn some stuff and, voila, get independence?! WTF, man! (I know, I know, it would take many dreary years of guerrilla warfare, but that’s how I imagine it being framed.)
Updater @# 89 :
thank you very much for this accurate and detailed information. This is what I look for on NM – not endless petty point-scoring propaganda.
Again – thank you.
There are a number of videos on youtube showing Nuttawut and Arisman telling the audience to set Bangkok on fire. What do you think should happen to these guys now?
Wat Pathum situation needs to be cleared. After the surrender of the red leaders lots of supporters took refuge there (along with some other places in the area).
They were supposed to go farther, to the National stadium, but no one seems to have made it there.
Afaik there were no reports of red shirts being transported back home from the stadium on that day, by contrast the next day repatriation was everywhere on TV.
The journalist who got shot trying to leave says troops, shooting everything that moves, were coming from the West, where they were supposed to wait for the arrival of surrendered reds.
Sloppy reporter as he is, he doesn’t tell exactly when or how far they progressed.
Soldiers on the east side, next door at Rajprasong, didn’t go in until about midnight.
So what happened there? Two groups of soldiers shooting at each other for hours?
There most certainly was another armed group, and it wasn’t in the temple, but we have no idea the army knew that for certain so the soldiers could have shot people trying to leave.
Or the third group shot them just as the third group could have shot half a dozen of people in the head on April 10, far away from the retreating army.
To add to the confusion – CRES has been saying for days that the third hand terrorists and snipers were dressed in army fatigues as well.
Re: Video link by Updater #89 The person interviewing him mentions
“multiple snipers on Chula hospital”. That institution is utterly shameless
and its reputation is permanently damaged. Like the university of the same
name it has become a base for the most disgusting of intellectual reactionaries.
They should (and no doubt) will be tried for incitement to violence. Unfortunately there are scores of others in dire need of serious criminal charges, including those responsible for the 2006 coup (treason), who have never been tried. PAD leaders, for example, have never been tried for any criminal acts, including the occupation of the airports. How swiftly the Thai justice system works against the poor and their champions! How swiftly it rewards the rich for their crimes–whether it’s rich kids getting away with murder, generals and politicians getting away with coups, editors-in-chief inciting hatred, etc. Keep demanding “the rule of law”, just don’t ignore the ‘red-shirts’ when they demand the same.
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