Dienstag, 23. April 2013

The Red Shirt protest - A personal diary - Part 3: 18. - 20. April 2010

A personal diary - Part 1: Prologue and March 2010
A personal diary - Part 2: 1. - 17. April 2010
The Red Shirt protests - Part 4: 21. - 30. April 2010 - Mob Rules
The Red Shirt Protests - Part 5: 01. - 14. Mai - grausamer Mai/ "Cruel May" - พฤษภาอำมหิต- Teil/Part 1 - (German Version, only English captions, headlines and some English text translations)
The Red Shirt protests - Part 6: 15. - 18. Mai - "Cruel May" - พฤษภาอำมหิต - Part 2
The Red Shirt Protests - Part 7: May 19 - the crackdown


18. - 20. April 2010 - Building the barricade and the arrival of the troops


18th April

Arrival of the special police forces and the "Barricade"

This picture was taken in May 2010.

The Red Shirts put up "The Barricade" to block access to their camp. This "defense wall" became a symbol of their resistance (after the failed crackdown) and was famous all over the world. Made from used tyres, bamboo sticks, nets, barbed wire and concrete flower tubs it did stop the police forces from clearing the camp (apart from that they never really tried) but it was of course no match for the Royal Thai Army and their armoured vehicles and tanks on Mai 19th.

Rumours circulatet for days, that the UDD would try to extend their camp also to Silom road to occupy the whole area as far as Narathiwat road. Therefore the government/CRES (Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation) decided to dispatch security forces and army units to the Silom area to prevent this action to take place.

You need to know that the Silom area is one of the most important tourism hubs in Bangkok, the Bangkok Bank headquarter is located in that area as well as other important main offices of international companies.

On the evening of April 18th several units of riot police and special police forces started to secure Sala Daeng area and took position opposite the red shirt camp. The protesters had already blocked the access to Ratchadamri Road, wich lies across Silom road, with concrete flower tubs and barbed wire when the police units arrived.

Police forces took their position near Sala Daeng intersection.

The mood oft many shop owners at Silom road, who had supported the protest at first (and had cheered at the Red Shirt motorcade of 20th March), had changed when the Red Shirts occupied Ratchaprasong intersection and the surrounding areas. Constant traffic jam blocked the roads. Out of fear of getting involved into violent clashes or attacks many tourists and customers avoided the shops and restaurants in and around Silom road. Many business owners struggled for their economic survival. Therefore some shop keepers and residents began to organise anti-Red Shirt rallies and received the arriving police forces with cheers.

In the evening some monks, who supported the Red Shirt protest, left the camp to negotiate with the police chief in command. They asked him not to storm the camp or to take any violent actions against the demonstrators. But as far as I understood, the police commander told them, that they never intended to take any action against the protesters anyway. They told the monks that the police just came to secure the area and to keep the opposing protest groups at bay - the Red Shirts on the one side of the intersection and a crowd of angry shop owners, Yellow Shirts, multi-coloured shirts and violent hooligans on the other side.


19th April

Arrival of the soldiers

Between 4.00 and 5.00 o'clock in the morning army units started to arrive at Silom road. This photo was taken at 4.35 a.m. at Thanon Sala Daeng. Armed units took their positions at the elevated Skytrain-Station, blocked the pedestrian bridge and secured the entrance to the MRT-underground station.

After the soldiers arrived at Silom road they started immediately to seal of partially the pavements and traffic lanes with barbed wire and road blocks. The week-long lasting stand-off began.


20th April


On the next day both sides continued fortifying their barricades or road blocks. The Red Shirts added more barbed wire, sharpened bamboo sticks and old tyres to the barricade. And they put up nets to block one's view on the guards and tents right behind their "defensive wall".

Collecting cobblestones...

... to use them as projectiles in case of an attack.

Hundreds of tyres were delivered throughout the day.

Sharpening the bamboo sticks.

Some protesters covered the security cameras with plastic bags or wrappers.

The shop keepers, their employee's, residents and the businessmen were caught in the middle.

The blocked pavement along the Central Department store at Sala Daeng.

Some of the soldiers were almost still children..

The entrance to the MRT underground station from Rama IV road was sealed off by the army.

Residents and anti-Red Shirt protesters provided the policemen and soldiers several times a day with drinks and food.
A young soldier told us, that the army didn't provide them with enough food and drinks or clean clothes, and so they  had to take care (and pay) for all the things by themselves. Therefore they were very grateful for the donations.

The police and army units were lodged in the underground car parks and parking blocks of the hotels and shopping malls near Sala Daeng intersection. They stayed there for weeks. When I tried to take some pictures of those army camps, the guards threw my wife and me out, politely but firmly.

End of Part 3


A personal diary - Part 1: Prologue and March 2010
A personal diary - Part 2: 1. - 17. April 2010


1 Kommentar:

  1. @ Martin: please, comments about my blog are always welcome, but don't use your comments for advertisement or spam! Therefore I will not post your latest comment on Red shirts protest -Part 3.