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iReporters shared stunning images as protesters clashed with police and buses burned in Bangkok on Monday.
farleym, visiting Thailand from Maine, found himself in the midst of it all, coming across a charred bus while being driven by taxi. “I told the taxi driver to stop, paid him and we got out to see a wall of army troops in the distance coming up from the Democracy Monument,” he said. “We got on the side of the road and photographed all we could, the army advanced, the protesters set fire to two more buses and retreated.”
Speaking with CNN’s Reggie Aqui, jlhaimsohn, who has only been in Bangkok for four weeks, shared his experience as protests took place . “Protesters have cordoned off the street, diverting traffic and are causing destruction to personal property,” he said. “Currently, it’s the Thai New Year so within two blocks of the violence, there are children playing in the street. It’s quite a celebration.” (iReporters such as ScottieW shared video of the celebrations as well.)
develter said that the police there showed “discipline and restraint” in dealing with the situation. At one point during a stand-off, he told me, “What was really chilling was the silence. You could hear yourself breathe.”
iReporters definitely added a lot to CNN’s coverage of this breaking news event. Were you there as well? Share your photos and video of the protests from earlier this week.
There are tea parties all over the country by well intending americans who are just sick over the out of control spending and too much government control.
Its a shame that the only voice CNN covered was the one that called Obama a horrible name.
This is a HUGE STORY...WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW PROTESTS ACROSS THE NATION.
you are wrong thinking that this is a recruiting tool...
Never has our governement been so one sided and extreme.
We all pay taxes and slanting toward the winning party is appropriate, but RUNNING WILD LIKE KIDS IN A CANDY STORE IS JUST PLAIN WRONG.
The Thai society should have lived and played happily if Thaksin didn't show up supporting a dozen of ring masters who rallied ten of thousands of red-shirts on the street. Some have been bought but some have joined with good faith. Those who have joined with good faith are mainly split into two groups. One is those who didn't agree with the military coup on 19 September 2006. This group doesn't want any violence but wants to speak up in a democratic way. The other one is manipulated or even forced to join by the ring masters. They are the poor and undereducated who tend to be persuaded easily by anyone whom they deem respectful in their communities. Misled by Thaksin, eventually they were exploited to incur violence such as burning public buses, and parking gas truck obstructing Bangkok main streets. The Thai government has been a little late in responding efficiently to the protest and finally came back with great strategy which involved military operation aiming to control the situation but not injuring any of the citizens no matter what color of shirts they are wearing.
At the moment, Thaksin still tries to lobby around the world through several international news agencies. He is still claiming the followings ;
1) the red-shirts protest is non-violent and for real democracy only.
2) his support for this group is only a moral support, and nothing more than that.
3) he does not really want to come back to Thailand to lead the country but if it’s necessary, he will not be reluctant to do so by, first of all, coming back right away to lead a red-shirts long march to the government house.
4) the military crackdown is brutal and causing a certain number of death toll.
Let’s discuss the above point by point as follows ;
1) we have seen both pictures and footages of the red-shirts burning public buses and tires, and parking gas truck by leaving safety valve opened on the main streets of Bangkok. A few days before that, on Saturday, 11 April 2009, hundreds of red-shirts led by Arisman Pongruengrong raid Royal Cliff Beach hotel in South Pattaya where the ASEAN + 6 conference was being held. The red-shirts viciously hunted down the prime minister and intimidated both the ASEAN delegates and followers. This would not have happened without the “moral support” by Thaksin.
2) making speech via VDO link to the protesters every evening pretending to ask for true democracy is not just a moral support. He also intentionally mixes the campaign for real democracy with his return to the country (of course without having to be punished). The guy only wants to take out his money being frozen by the government. A lot of people in the rural area praise him and present him as the prime minister for life. However, don’t forget that real democracy is a system but a person. The leader is supposed to be changed once in while to create new energy in moving the country. That’s why the US demands that a President can be in his position for only two terms. Thaksin tries to make under-educated people think that he himself is democracy. Getting him back will also get real democracy. Believe it or not, those who campaign for this issue do not even know what democracy is.
3) The crackdown has ended but no sign of Thaksin coming back. If I were him, I wouldn’t be back either because living out of the country definitely makes it flexible for him to always instigate any move to ruin the country.
4) The crackdown was done with both Thai and international correspondences being present. Had there been any dead, there would have been uncovered by these agencies.
For Thaksin and the red-shirts, they have avoided mentioning the damages they caused to the ASEAN +6 summit which inevitably have adverse impact not only on Thailand but also ASEAN countries and the other 6 countries to joined it. They also avoid mentioning the assault on the Prime Minister’s car at the Ministry of Interior on Sunday 12 April which badly injured the Prime Minister’s secretary general and one of his guards. The government’s operation to crack them down is therefore necessary in order to restore law and orders to the country.
Thaksin now is indeed an international terrorist for the damage he has done to the ASEAN + 6 summit. The world community should condone him, not just the red-shirts, and capture him to send back to Thailand for being sentenced. He is now reportedly in Dubai.
NO!!!! Just what we need is a few more comatosed, brain dead people running around