Photo story : Towards democracy or civil war (1)

Photographer’s note :

I’ve been following the red shirts protest in Bangkok, Thailand since its resumption on March 12 2010, nearly one year after the so called ‘Sonkran violence of 2009’ took place.  Red shirts, officially known as United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (or UDD), has proved that it has been volumed, well organized and become a grass roots based movement combined with democratic and progressive elements in the country. It has certainly outgrown the ousted prime minister Thaksin Sinawatra, whom many of red shirts support while some of red shirts don’t.

Unfortunately the photos which I took and will post in a “Series of Photo story on Thai crisis” wouldn’t show each and every single episode of the months-long protest, as I’ve missed a lot of significant moments, I confess. Yet, there is a stream of events in which, to my absolute hope, the visitors would catch a glim shot as to what has been happening on the ground.

– Penseur21 –

===========================================

Toward democracy or civil war

Series of Photo story on Thai crisis (1)

(April 9 ~ April 12  2010)

Lee Yu Kyung in Bangkok

“Our darkest hours”

The headline of The Nation, one of the English daily newspapers in Thailand reads on April 11. The country has witnessed one of the bloodiest crackdowns on street protesters a day earlier on April 10, as soldiers blocked anti-government reds protesters heading to protest site and triggered their guns at protesters, who otherwise would have remained in peaceful. The crackdown following the State of Emergency declared three days earlier has caused deadly clashes between security forces armed with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunitions and red shirts who were throwing whatever at their hands available. During the last moments of clashes, some men in black clad wearing red scarf at red sides have got involved in gun battle with security forces. Two of possibly allies of the gun men have prevent me from taking picture of their battle. They all rushed to be disappeared into dark after about half an hour gun battle to my witness. The clashes of the day have resulted in 25 killed, including one Japanese journalist and 5 soldiers, and more than 800 wounded. The most of casualties have occurred from 18:30 to 21:00 at Khok Wua intersection, nearby the popular tourist area Khaosan, and Dinso road nearby Democracy Monument.

‘Black Saturday’, however, has not terminated the political crisis in the country at all, as the government has insisted that it won’t give in to protesters’ demand, which is dissolution of the house and new election. Rather, the government vows to ‘reclaim’ red shirts-occupied Rajaprason, the central area of Bangkok, by enforcing rule of law, indicating another crackdown might be imminent. Red shirts, on their side, are firmly determined to stage a protest at Rajaprasong and central area ‘indefinitely’. (as of in mid-April)

Tens of thousand red shirts protesters were gathering near ‘Thai com’, the satellite provider of its mouth piece ‘P Channel’ in Pathumthani province in a protest against blockade of the channel by the authority. After protest P channel was on air shortly before agains being blacked out by the authority. The blockade of P Channel has directed red shirts protester to extreme anger, which expressed out in violence next day during the deadly clashes with security forces. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

A soldier hold up the red scarf, which seemed to be given by red shirts protesters, after small skirmish with red shirts protesters near Thai Com in Pathumthani province on April 9. As the government has cut off transmission of the red shirts’ mouth piece TV, ‘People Channel’ (or ‘D station’) along with the independent website Prachatai and hundreds others, thousands of red shirts protesters staged a demonstration at Thai Com, which is a satellite provider of P channel. The blockade of critical media has fuelled extreme anger among red shirts protesters who had eventually turned to be violent next day. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Some hundreds of red shirts protesters were blocked by the armed forces near government house, as they were heading to the main protest site at Fhan Fa bridge on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Hundreds of red shirts protester clashed with armed soldiers near government house midday of April 10, as they were blocked their way for Phan Fa bridge, where red shirts’ main stage has been set up. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Hundreds of red shirts protester clashed with armed soldiers near government house midday of April 10, as they were blocked their way for Phan Fa bridge, where red shirts’ main stage has been set up. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

An angry protester was shouting at the soldiers at midday of April 10, as they were blocked their way to Phan Fa bridge, where red shirts has set up their main stage. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Army were shouting back at protesters (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Red shirts protesters took sticks from the collapsed army barricade, after they pushed out the army lines near government house on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

The army fired water cannon at anti government red shirts protesters near government house on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

The army were deployed in ‘ready-to-shoot’ position at Phitsanulok road near government house, after they controlled the road by clearing off anti government red shirts protesters. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

A protester hold up his two arms to show ‘no weapon but non-violent protester’ in an attempt to pass through lines of army on April 10. However armed forces on that day blocked red shirts’ movement around, causing violent clashes between armed forces and protesters of the day. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

The armed forces confronted with red shirts protesters in Bankok on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

The armed forces confronted with red shirts protesters in Bankok on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Security forces were all geared up to confront with red shirts protesters on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Thousands of red shirts protesters nearby Khaosan, the popular tourist area and Democracy Monument have deadly clashes with security forces, which fired live bullets as well as rubber bullets at protesters. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Thousands of red shirts protesters nearby Khaosan, the popular tourist area and Democracy Monument have deadly clashes with security forces, which fired live bullets as well as rubber bullets at protesters. Till the fighting was ceased night time, 21 killed and more than 800 wounded. However, death tolls have been increased up to 25 as of April 21, as some of the injured were in serious condition. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

A protester was injured in his shoulder during the deadly clashes between armed forces and red shirts protesters at Khok Wua intersection on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

One injured protester was rush to be brought to the ambulance while deadly clashes between armed forces and red shirt protesters on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

A protester was killed as he shot in his head during the deadly clashes between security forces and red shirts protesters at Khok Wua intersection on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Grenade exploded while chaotic street battle between security forces and red shirts protesters on April 10 (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

As fighting between security forces and red shirts protesters were intensified, some protesters used shields, which they seemed to take from soldiers. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Once peaceful red shirts protesters, however, have deadly clashes with security forces, which fired live bullets as well as rubber bullets at protesters on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Gunmen showed up at red side to wage a gun battle at last moment of fighting on April 10. While red shirts has denied of its involvement in it, there’s been rumors around that some disgruntled soldiers and retired generals’ involvement or infiltration to ‘help’ reds. Image captured from a video clip (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Anti-government red shirts protesters, who had kept peaceful gathering for a month, have deadly clashes with security forces, who fired live bullets as well as rubber bullets and tear gas at them. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Red shirts protesters were looking at blood stains at Din So road nearby Democracy Monument after deadly clashes between armed forces and red shirts protesters on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Red shirts protesters were looking at blood stains at Din So road nearby Democracy Monument after deadly clashes between armed forces and red shirts protesters on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Red shirts protesters and monks were looking at blood stains in front of tanks, which were abandoned by armed forces at Din So road after deadly clashes between security forces and red shirts protesters. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

A red shirt protester looking at inside of the tank, which was abandoned by armed forces after deadly clashes with red shirts protesters on April 10. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Red shirts stand upon the abandoned tanks in Din So road, where deadly clashes between security forces and red shirts protesters took place. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Democracy monument at Rachadamneon decorated by red shirts protesters. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Family of victims, who were killed on April 10 during the deadly clashes with security forces, were gathering at police general hospital on April 12. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

The site where the slain Japanese journalist Hiro Muramoto (42) was supposed to be shot dead in his chest. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

Thousands of red shirts protesters demonstrated near the residence of Prime Minister at Sukumvit on April 12, as they marched with coffins of slain proesters two days earlier. They vowed to continue their protest until the house dissolved. (© Lee Yu Kyung 2010)

to be continued…

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