I arrived back home in Bangkok to some pretty bizarre circumstances. While I was in Laos, red-shirted protesters took over a large swathe of central Bangkok, from the central shopping district to the edge of Lumphini Park, directly opposite my apartment. They’ve occupied this space for several weeks now, having barricaded themselves inside an intimidating fence of tires, bamboo poles and barbed wire (for background on the current conflict in Thailand, go here or here). The conflict has escalated in the last few days, and yesterday there were rumours that the protesters were going to be surrounded by the military and police at 6pm. At about this time I left my house with the intent of taking a few pics and documenting what was going on in my neighbourhood. While wandering around the red shirt camp, I happened to run into ace reporters Newley Purnell and Anasuya Sanyal, and here are some of the things we saw that night.
View over the Silom area, with hotels and skyscrapers in the background and the medieval-looking tire and bamboo fence in the foreground:
A closer look at the fence and one of its guards:
It’s said that the protesters have soaked the fence in gasoline, and will set it on fire if attacked.
Inside the fenced area (no, those rocks aren’t for landscaping):
Guarding the fence:
While I was in the area I happened to see Khattiya Sawasdipol, better known as Seh Daeng (Commander Red):
a rogue military general and hardline red shirt supporter who has allegedly likened himself to the Mel Gibson character in the film Braveheart:
Only moments after these photos were taken, Seh Daeng was shot while being interviewed by New York Times correspondent.
Soldiers along Silom, later that night:
Motorcyclists being chased away from the fence by a group of shouting red shirts near Lumphini Park: