Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Bangkok 'bursting at the seams' from massive Red Shirt protests

With their camera lenses, iReporters have been documenting the effects of protests that have dominated the heart of Bangkok, Thailand, for more than a month now. The Red Shirts, supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are demanding that current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve parliament and call new elections. As the weeks have dragged on, the protests have increasingly worn on residents and bystanders, and clashes between police and protesters have intensified.

 

iReporter MojoBangkok and others have shown us dramatic photos of protesters putting up a bamboo fence with barbed wire to fortify their own checkpoints in and out of their camps. pivatana took pictures of the temporary living arrangements, including showers and restroom facilities. It's hard to imagine such a massive event taking over a city for so long -- and a government allowing this to occur -- so we spoke to Kozzli to find out what it's like. Talking over a rough Skype connection, the retired Englishman said he feels Bangkok is a unique place. He said he believes the protests really couldn't have occurred anywhere else.

 

From the early beginnings of the "Red Shirt mob" right into the sea of red they had created, we're seeing an immense amount of creativity going into camps of almost unimaginable size. MontanaR sent us striking photos that she said were intended to make a statement about the beauty of the protesters' intentions. We also saw the conflicts that are inevitable with a protest of this size, as heavy police forces clashed with protesters and a group that took off on motorcycles to demonstrate at another location. Damage to windows and other structures was evident in images from dunlevyd. Kozzli alluded to the protests placing strains on the central business district when we interviewed him, and pivatana sent us images of the city "bursting at the seams." The residents of Bangkok even hosted a protest of their own as shown by bangkokdave, demonstrating against the Red Shirts' interruption of their daily lives.

 

To show how deeply the protests have woven themselves into daily life, jacobhefner juxtaposed the lighthearted New Year celebrations with the protest atmosphere. Kozzli said the traditional caking of faces with flour was translated to the sides of tanks and other structures, meshing together tradition with the protests. We also saw spectacular street art from reddew's photos and images of tanks rolling through the city.

 

The scope of these protests is almost hard to conceptualize. How would you feel if you were living in Bangkok and witnessing these events? Would you want to join the Red Shirts and protest for weeks on end in the middle of a city? Tell us what you think about the situation in Bangkok in the comments section below, and share your photos and video of protests if you have them.

8 Comments
April 21, 2010
Click to view joycebolyard's profile

I am enjoying Arwa Damon's reports from the countryside.  One topic that would be interesting to discuss with the locals is how much the red shirt demonstrators are being paid to disrupt the country.  I have heard it is between 500-1000 baht per day.  This translates roughly to $15-30.  Those that are willing to fight receive more money than those that are unable to fight, such as the elderly and those with children.

 

The people want democracy, but I am curious to know if they are aware of what Abhisit has done for them.  Thaksin allowed loans to communities for the purchase of cell phones, TVs, and motorcycles.  Interest rates were usurious and people sometimes lost their farms.  Abhisit is trying to take away the loan sharking opportunities and the person involved with the community outreach program through 'Cabbages and Condoms' has been trying to replace high interest rate loans with loans that can be used to benefit the farmers for such things as irrigation pumps, tractors, and other things that will make a difference in the productivity of the farms at reasonable interest rates.  Abhisit has also abolished school fees from what I understand, so that every child can go to school.  Education will help to eliminate poverty.

April 22, 2010
Click to view leelawadee's profile

Hi all,

I have something to tell u, about the Red Shirts In Thailand.The most of them, they are the farmers from the norteasthern of Thailand. Someone don't know the real destination of the leader's red shirts. They are poor people. The leader's red shirts, they are liar everthing with the situations. They assumed that the government want to kill them. But not! The government don't want to do that. The leader's red shirts have been tried to run riot in the nation. But there are many people around Thailand disagreed with them. The Red Shirts, they want Mr.Shinawatra, the prisoner come back in Thailand again. And amnesty for the prisoner. First time, The Red Shirts, they informed that they want a democrecy...but right now they no!!!They are the tororism..they want to destroy the nation themselve...The Head's Red Shirts is the prisonor Mr.Shinawatra Taksin..... who is the worse person of the world...He can destroy his hometown..and the land that he was born...No one in the world look like him.Bye,,tomorrow I will write about this again.

Best Regards,

Leelawadee.

 

April 22, 2010
Click to view 100tears's profile

Give more from Leelawadee,

 

Most people in Thailand, who never show up on any bad situation in Thailand...they can't handle about Red Shirt Acted anymore...They're trying to do on their way to help themself to get rid Red Shirt off from Bangkok....We don't want to see our same blood pour out just for a few bad prisoners. and want to stop the Red's leader make misunderstanding about everything that happen in Thailand now.....

You'll see what is the truth.

 

PS. Sorry if I did broken English..ha ha _

May 11, 2010
Click to view wiwihh's profile

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May 13, 2010
Click to view capcup's profile

@leelawadee, are you sure that?

May 13, 2010
Click to view joyrank's profile

You know that is a very good questions, what is next.  As we been communicating with each other before on the violence there in Bangkok Thailand.  You're absolutely right it would take more tears and blood, to bring this situation to a close.  I am very embarrassed being a true blooded American that the incident's is just being reported here in the states.  So many people have to lose their life because they truly believe in having a better future.  After all all of our commercials clearly show that what you have certain rights you would have a better life.

May 17, 2010
Click to view sawasdee's profile

Hi, my friends and I very often watch cnn news on TV. Kindly make sure that your reporter in Thailand is always presenting an unbiased news. My friends in the U.S. reads various u.s. newspapers and wonder why most papers in the U.S. presents different news perspective to CNN. We are Thai citizens, therefore, no foreigners would understand our culture better than Thais with true integrity. I love my country and I wish everyone in the world to always understand the real situation that happens here in Thailand. Lastly, I just wanted you to make sure.  

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