Red Shirt Protests – Bangkok
Thailand is in the mists of a political revolution, as hundreds of thousands of protesters flock to provincial capitals across Thailand. The protesters call themselves the Red Shirts (National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship) and support Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted from his position in 2006 during the military coup. They are calling for the resignation of Thailand’s current government and want new elections to be held immediately.
I hitched a ride in the back of a Red Shirt pickup truck to the protest site in Lad Prao, Bangkok. Lad Prao has one of the military safe houses for current political administration and Thais draped in red were lining the walls of the compound. The Thai protesters seemed joyful but calm as I arrived. They were sitting in the shade eating and cheering as more of their fellow supporters arrived. By midday they were chanting and dancing up and down the street. Politicians made speeches from cars; shouting at the military across rolls of razor wire. The Red Shirts are claiming they will continue to escalate protests until new elections are held.
“The Department of State advises all U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Bangkok to monitor events closely, to avoid any large public gatherings, and to exercise discretion when moving about Bangkok. All demonstrations are unpredictable, and any demonstration can turn violent without warning. For this reason, the Embassy encourages all U.S. citizens to monitor local media for announcements of possible demonstrations and to avoid the areas where demonstrations might occur. If a demonstration is expected to pass near U.S. Embassy facilities, Embassy entrances and functions may be restricted, depending on circumstances.” US State Department