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Thailand's turbulent times
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Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 3:07 pm    Post subject: Thailand's turbulent times Reply with quote

Thai PM defends deadly army crackdown in Bangkok

By VIJAY JOSHI, Associated Press Writer 47 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100515/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_politics
Quote:
BANGKOK Thailand's prime minister defended Saturday the deadly army crackdown on the Red Shirt protesters besieging the capital, saying there was no turning back as clashes raged in the center of Bangkok.
"The government must move forward. We cannot retreat because we are doing things that will benefit the entire country," Abhisit Vejjajiva said in a national broadcast, striking a defiant tone that made it clear he was in no mood for a compromise.
The spiraling violence has raised concerns that Thailand a longtime tourism magnet that promotes its easygoing culture as the "Land of Smiles" was teetering toward instability. The political uncertainty has spooked foreign investors and damaged the vital tourism industry, which accounts for 6 percent of the economy, Southeast Asia's second largest.
The demonstrators Saturday accused government snipers of picking people off with head shots.
The army says it is not shooting to kill, but protesters crawled along sidewalks to slowly drag away bodies of three people near the city's Victory Monument traffic circle in the Ratchaprarop area Saturday. They accused army snipers of shooting all three in the head.
"The situation right now is getting closer to civil war every minute," a protest leader, Jatuporn Prompan, said. "We have to fight on. The leaders shouldn't even think about retreat when our brothers are ready to fight on."
The televised comments were Abhisit's first comments since the latest violence began Thursday after a Red Shirt protest leader was shot and seriously wounded by a sniper's bullet.
Since then explosions and street fighting have killed 22 people and wounded more than 170 as troops tried to seal off the 1-square-mile (3-square-kilometer) zone where some 10,000 Red Shirt protesters, mostly rural poor, have occupied one of the capital's most upscale areas since March 12.

They have set up a perimeter of fuel-soaked tires and bamboo stakes, refusing to leave until Abhisit dissolves Parliament and calls new elections.
The Red Shirts claim his coalition government came to power through manipulation of the courts and the backing of the powerful military, and that it is indifferent to the poor.
Abhisit said the government was acting in the interests of the public and the plan is "to return normalcy with minimum loss" to Bangkok.
"We cannot deny that while these protests are taking place, terrorism also is taking place involving the use of war weapons," he said. "I insist that if we want to see an end to the loss of life, the only way is to have the protesters end their protest."
He said the government offered a reconciliation plan that was rejected by the Red Shirts.
The crisis had appeared to be reaching a resolution last week when Abhisit offered to hold elections in November, a year early. But hopes were dashed after Red Shirt leaders made more demands.
"We cannot let ... a group of people set up a militia to topple the government. This is the only way to achieve peace," Abhisit said.
Abhisit's comments came as fighting spread Saturday to several streets leading to the encampment, and the army set up barricades in an attempt to seal off the area, where all shops, hotels and businesses were closed.

Troops have used tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds on demonstrators after they set fire to tires and a police bus on Friday. The government accuses them of using guns, grenades and firebombs.
On Saturday, soldiers unrolled razor wire across roads leading to the Ratchaprarop area a commercial district north of the main protest site and pinned Thai and English-language notices saying "Live Firing Zone" and "Restricted Area. No Entry."
Ratchaprarop houses high-rise buildings, posh hotels and designer shops. It was the scene of some of the worst fighting Friday night between troops and anti-government protesters.
In several rounds of violence, a total 51 people have been killed and at least 1,620 wounded, according to a government toll that includes the most recent clashes.


I think it's safe to say the shit has hit the fan, snipers, impromptu fortresses...interesting to see divine mandate in action.
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Mini J



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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thread so nice you posted it twice.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

whoops! Embarassed

From what my friend chuck says (he's Thai with A LOT of family still back there) it's worse even than what the news reports are showing
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seems like not only protestors were targets:

Bangkok descends from bustling city to war zone

By Martin Petty Sat May 15, 12:15 pm ET

Quote:
Smoke billows from burning tires. Bangkok's biggest streets, normally clogged by traffic, are guarded by troops behind razorwire, who fire on anti-government protesters, playing cat and mouse.
A cacophony of ambulance sirens, gunshots and thunderous explosions echo down the now deserted streets lined with office towers, malls and hotels. Huge columns of smoke curl above the buildings from tires that protesters have set afire.
Welcome to Bangkok, a tourist hot spot known for its cultural attractions, racy nightclubs and -- now -- scenes of anarchy more reminiscent of an apocalyptic Hollywood movie.
Thousands of armed troops struggled to throw a security cordon around Bangkok's commercial center on Saturday battling protesters armed with petrol bombs, rocks and, according to the government, possibly guns and grenades.
Hopes of a swift end to the violence were dashed when thousands of protesters massed, and called for more to follow, at a working class neighborhood near the business district, where a temporary stage was set up on a truck, suggesting plans for a new sit-in were taking shape.
Authorities put up banners in parts of the business district warning people they were entering a "live fire zone." Troops and snipers fired on the protesters, some of whom carried no weapons, witnesses said.
"They shot everything that moved," said a foreign photographer who fled the scene after being holed up inside a nearby house for six hours.


full story http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100515/wl_nm/us_thailand_scene_2
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster
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zeezee



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorick wrote:
One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster

fixed
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Willem



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see you all care, guys.
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Yorick



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willem wrote:
Good to see you all care, guys.

There isn't much I can do about it. I choose snark over "oh noes!".
I could be callous, if you like.
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Mr Gary



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
whoops! Embarassed

From what my friend chuck says (he's Thai with A LOT of family still back there) it's worse even than what the news reports are showing


From what my friend Paul tells me - he's been out there for four years now, has a bar in Bangkok - it's NOT as bad as the news are reporting (reporting here in the UK that is). He says there are streets you might normally walk down, but now avoid, but that you simply need walk unimpeded down the next street. So who knows?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it would be safe to assume that the whole country isn't in the shitter BUT probably where it's bad it's worse than they are portraying it.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then again:

Thai govt rejects plea for talks, pushes crackdown

By THANYARAT DOKSONE, Associated Press Writer 10 mins ago
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100516/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_politics
Quote:
BANGKOK Thailand's government insisted Sunday a crackdown on Red Shirt protesters will continue despite their plea for U.N-mediated talks to end four days of street clashes with troops that have killed 30 people.
A pause by the Thai military was unnecessary since troops were "not using weapons to crack down on civilians," said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. The government maintains it is only targeting armed "terrorists" among the demonstrators.
Panitan's comments dashed hopes of an end to Thailand's worst political violence in decades, which has spiraled out of control and raised concerns of sustained, widespread chaos in this nation of 65 million people. Thailand is a key U.S. ally and Southeast Asia's second-largest economy.
According to government figures, 59 people have died and more than 1,600 have been wounded since the Red Shirts began their protests in March. The toll includes 30 civilians killed and 232 injured since Thursday in fighting that has turned parts of the city known for its nightlife into an urban war zone.
A towering column of black smoke rose over the city Sunday as protesters facing off with troops set fire to tires serving as a barricade. Elsewhere, they doused a police traffic post with gasoline and torched it as sporadic gunfire rang out.
The Red Shirts have occupied a 1-square-mile (3-square-kilometer) protest zone barricaded by tires and bamboo spikes in one of Bangkok's ritziest areas to push their demands for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to resign immediately, dissolve Parliament and call new elections.
Drawn mostly from the rural and urban poor, the Red Shirts say Abhisit's coalition government came to power through manipulation of the courts and the backing of the powerful military, and that it symbolizes a national elite indifferent to the poor.
Soldiers have encircled the protest zone in a wide perimeter. Most of the fighting is taking place in the no-man's land in between. The Red Shirt fighters have used homemade gasoline bombs, firecrackers, rocks and in some cases guns to attack troops positioned behind sandbag bunkers. The soldiers have responded with rubber bullets and live ammunition.
Journalists have seen army snipers take aim through telescopic sights and fire to keep the attackers at bay.
With the Red Shirts' encampment virtually sealed off by troops, the protesters are running out of food and water and other supplies.
"We are willing to negotiate immediately," Nattawut Saikua, one of the protest leaders, told reporters and supporters earlier Sunday. "What's urgent is to stop the deaths of people. Political demands can wait."
Nattawut said the United Nations must serve as a mediator in the talks because, "we don't see any neutral and just organizations."
In response, Panitan said all groups using weapons to threaten security forces must "stop their actions immediately."
Thailand is a sovereign nation and there was no need for the U.N. to get involved in internal matters, he said.
A state of emergency, already in effect in 17 provinces, would be extended to five more provinces, Panitan said. The emergency bans a gathering of more than five people and gives the military broad powers.
On Sunday, protest leaders told women and children with them to move to a Buddhist temple compound within the protest zone. In Thai tradition, temples are considered safe havens and will not be entered by anyone bearing arms.
But many of the worst clashes Sunday were outside the protest zone with particularly fierce battles in a working class neighborhood where a large group of demonstrators gathered an indication the unrest was spreading.
About 5,000 people are believed camped in the main protest zone, down from about 10,000 before fighting started Thursday after a sniper shot and seriously wounded a Red Shirt leader, a former army general who was their military strategist. His condition worsened Sunday, doctors said.
The urban battleground resembles a curfew zone with no public transport or private vehicles. Most shops, hotels, supermarkets and businesses in the area are shut. The government has shut off power, water and food supplies to the core protest site.
Schools were ordered shut Monday in all of Bangkok. Long lines formed at supermarkets outside the protest zone as people rushed to stock up on food.
The clashes are the most prolonged and deadliest bout of political violence that Thailand has faced in decades despite having a history of coups 18 since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.
The crisis appeared to be near a resolution last week when Abhisit offered to hold elections in November, a year early. But the hopes were dashed after Red Shirt leaders made more demands.


I think I should mention that I'm amused by the irony of all this: Buddhism is the official religion of thailand and as per mandate of heaven (or what ever their version of it is called) the people are supposed to be trying to unseat a ruler perceived as unjust and unfit.
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Call for an international intervention couldn't be accepted, no way. Thailand is known for it's military coups and this has all the marks of a new one for a bit.

Only the king can calm down this. Hard to do when your wife is strongly supporting one faction (hint : not the red shirts), moreso when succession is a big issue, daughter would be loved but is a girl, son is an inbred moron (I mean both adjectives literally) and you're 82.

Somehow I suspect this is used, not only as a power play between the upper/middle class urbanites vs the poorer/middle class northwesterers, leaving that to Him but as a sucession' war.
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Mr Gary



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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my mate who owns a bar in the centre of Bangkok:

Quote:
I'm fine. it's very serious out there, but it's limited to a 6-7 square km area (though imagine what that would mean in the centre of London!!). my apartment is 2 km away and the bar is about the same


the email continued:

Quote:
I watched the final - not only a win, but dominant throughout

anything new with you?


so he's obviously not flustered. he never is though, so who knows. he's been sending me links to photos though, and it does look very dramatic.

http://www.life.com/image/99598249/in-gallery/42562/terror-in-thailand
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/protests_turn_deadly_in_thaila.html?camp=localsearch:on:twit:bigpic
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Gary wrote:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/protests_turn_deadly_in_thaila.html?camp=localsearch:on:twit:bigpic

I hope I never live to see that kind of thing first hand. Also, 4 & 5 were quite surreal (definitely some NSFW if you click on the blacked out ones) yet soberly compelling.

Oh and there's something about #25, maybe it's the POV, maybe it's seeing the wedding ring on his finger...there's just something about that particular photo, it's like the guys desperation to hold to his ideals just comes across in it...
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picturesofsky



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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving stuff, thanks for posting Gary.
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