Red Protests – May 22-23, 2010

Also: Red Protests 2010 main page

(Source: YouTube video)

British ‘red-shirt’ arrested as Thai government criticizes foreign agitators -, May 23, 2010

Thai govt accuses foreigners in Bangkok arson - AFP, May 22, 2010
[Thanks to for pointing this out.]
...“A white Westerner was involved in the arson attack on Central World, convincing them to set fire to it. And an Asian was also involved in the arson attacks on the banks,” said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn...

Briton faces jail or execution for inciting Thai redshirts to torch mall - Guardian, May 25, 2010
[Thanks to jb for pointing this out.]
...Savage has admitted to being involved in earlier redshirt demonstrations, including riots in Pattaya in April 2009, when protesters stormed the hotel hosting the Asean leaders' meeting, causing the conference to be abandoned. He was at state-owned TV station Channel 3 when it was set on fire last Wednesday, though he says he played no part in burning the building...

The Brit thug of bloody Bangkok - The Sun, May 22, 2010
The British yob caught on video whipping up deadly riot fury in Bangkok was identified today as a London hospital driver...

Briton in Red Shirt demonstration regrets video arson gibe - The Times, May 21, 2010
[Thanks to for pointing this out.]
...He insisted that he had played no part in the mayhem, and that at the time he was watching --although not taking part in--another arson attack on a Thai television station. But he defended the destruction of property as a weapon in the “class war” which he believes the Red Shirts are fighting...

Jeff Savage, of Tonbridge in Kent, threatens to burn down Central World - YouTube, May 20, 2010

Dutch stone throwers "got carried away" -, May 23, 2010
The two Dutchmen, aged 44 and 17, who were arrested in Thailand for throwing stones during last week’s riots in the northern city of Chiang Mai, have been released with a warning. Salient detail: they were taking part in a rehabilitation project for people addicted to drugs or other substances...

Earlier: Foreigner rioting with the Red Shirts in Chiang Mai - here and here - YouTube, May 21, 2010
[With so many cameras out there, anything ones does is likely to be captured by multiple sources.]

What's the idea... - from Thai Rath, cartoon by Chai Ratchawat, May 23, 2010
The cartoon headline: What's the idea...

Top left: Peace, non-violence by producing the OTOP bomb! [Referring to the "One Tambon, One Product" campaign where each tambon produces a traditional product. Here, this refers to the molotov cocktails amassed by the Red Shirts.]

Top middle: By teaching students to know democracy by killing

Top right: Using innocents as human shields

Bottom left: Interpreting the speech "Do not go home empty handed" by robbing
[Violence is justified in Thai protests if the protesters end up feeling "dissatisfied" by the response they get. Thus the authorities must have some face-saving measure that would enable the protesters and their leaders to leave with a sense they have accomplished something (more about Thai protest). Thus, the Red Shirt leadership repeatedly told the crowd they will "not go home empty handed" which means that their grievances must be assuaged or else. Here, the cartoonist is literally interpreting the words "don't go home empty handed" by saying the protesters left carrying goods looted from shops.]

Bottom middle: Interpreting the speech "withdrawing money from Bangkok Bank" by breaking open ATM machines
[Red Shirts have targeted Bangkok Bank for its close connections to the Privy Council and Crown and as a financial foe of Thaksin. They have encouraged their supporters to withdraw money from the bank. Here, those calls are again used satirically to point out that protesters broke open ATMs to take the money out.]

Bottom right: Burning homes and the city to hide mobs from view!
[meaning they are lighting fires to hide violence and shooting from being seen]

In media reds -, May 23, 2010
In retrospect, red shirt calls for free speech and unfettered television access were as deceptive as the big red banner behind their stage at Ratchaprasong, which proclaimed in English for all the world to see:
That unforgettable banner, background to a vitriolic karaoke show and some unforgettable hate-laden banter held in the middle of a barricaded intersection, points to an image problem that was never really resolved. Were the reds peaceful and democratic at heart, betrayed by a militant fringe, or was violence and intimidation part of the overall red program from the start?...

Breaking News! The international media's coverage of the situation in Bangkok leaves a lot to be desired. And some of it has been plain wrong - Bangkok Post, May 23, 2010
...I am having to answer questions and comments on a daily basis from Americans whose only knowledge of what's happening in Thailand comes from CNN. Why is the "unelected" evil Thai government murdering its own people when "all they want is democracy"? Even my mother is distraught. "It's terrible what's going on there," she said. "All those red shirts want is democracy, and they're being killed for it..."

School fire in Sakhon Nakhon - The Nation, May 23, 2010

Massacre in Thailand: US's bloody hands - Tehran Times, May 23, 2010
...By working to maintain the Bush-era coup government in Thailand, President Obama bears criminal responsibility for the current atrocities. If the Thai working class is unable to overthrow their murderous government, Obama will bear further blame for propping up a coup-government that must resort to prolonged, massive brutality to maintain its rule...

(Photo: I Prahin)

Selection of Bangkok Burning Photo-Journalism - Flickr, May 23, 2010

Siam Theatre - 44 Years of History Destroyed - Flickr, May 23, 2010

Heartland of Thailand, still angry and divided - NYT, May 23, 2010
...The protesters returned with horrifying videos of the violence in Bangkok prepared by protest organizers. Rumors swelled that hundreds, or even thousands, had died in the streets, fueling talk of revenge.
...Then once the conversation has started, you will know who to hate.
...“What we have to accept is that most of them are from the countryside, less educated, and abandoned by the government for so long,” said Naengnoi Yanwaree, a professor of education.
“They are fed by community radio with wrong information, hate, anger, hatred of the yellows, hatred of the monarchy,” she said...

From Not the Nation
Arsonists Set Chuwit On Fire
California Wow Still Flaming
Mob of Interior Designers, Architects Set State Tower On Fire
Journalists Continue To Parachute Into Bangkok
After Evacuation, Bangkok Post Realizes Entire Paper Can Be Produced By Two People
TAT Demands Foreign Media Stop Exaggerating Story, 36 Not 38 Buildings Torched

Husband lost in Bangkok - New Zealand Herald, May 23, 2010
...Warhurst's sister Cari Batenburg, 45, says the family had to "weigh up" advice from the New Zealand Government against their desire to get on a plane to travel over there.
"We're all thinking we should be over there. It's hard for us to hold back and not go," she said. "But the reality of wandering around Bangkok ... I had to stop and ask 'what do I think I'm going to find?'"
The country is listed as an "extreme risk" destination on the Government's Safe Travel website...

Red crisis in Bangkok - Google Maps, May, 2010
[GoogleMaps placemarks of the locations of clashes. Thanks to Chris for pointing this out.]

Thai officials use a powerful visual to explain violence - Washington Post, May 23, 2010
...The government and its supporters say military action was the only option against protesters who, though mostly unarmed, harbored a small group of militants bent on wreaking havoc. Red shirts and their sympathizers blame the violence on the government's decision to call in the army rather than accept demands for early elections...

(Photo: I Prahin)

Citizens clean up at Ratchaprasong - Flickr, May 23, 2010

From Komchadluek, Cartoon: Hedkerd Yaek Bangna [taking place at Bangna junction], by Kui, May 20-21, 2010
Left: The city greatly suffered from arson. Does Thaksin confirm the reds’ fight is holding the principle of non-violence any longer?
Middle: Surely!! He still holds the principle of non-violence.
Right: At this moment he is doing shopping in Paris and he shops like doing a meditative walk.
[We are not entirely sure, but this cartoon is less funny than ironic because as the tense political situation remained in Thailand, Thaksin was living abroad and spending time luxury shopping in Paris. If there is a better interpretation for this, please let us know.]
Update on the Komchadluek cartoon - May 28, 2010
Navin explains: I'm not sure what causes confusion, since you have translated everything correctly but here is my take on it.
The word "Aa-hing-sah" is a principle in Buddhism stating that resorting to violence is not an option. For example, a buddhist who follows "Aa-hing-sah" principle is usually also a vegetarian which does not involve killing of other beings. The cartoon is making fun of the red shirt rebels who blindingly believe that Thaksin is a righteous man. Even his shopping in Paris looks like a meditative walk to them, indicating that Thaksin must be a good Buddhist and therefore he must holds the principle of non-violence.
I think you're right that the cartoon is meant to be ironic but many Thais would find this irony quite funny. People who're anti-Thaksin like to make fun of the red shirt's demand for greater social equality by pointing out Thaksin's luxurious lifestyle compared to the rural poor.

6 undetonated carbombs found at Rajprasong, meant to completely blow up the area - TAN, May 22, 2010

Canadian journalist critically injured in Thailand now able to speak - Vancouver Sun, May 22, 2010

Also: Red Protests 2010 main page

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