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Red Uprising through Dark Age

Sliding into civil war, or more intensive uprising to come in Thailand (1)

by Yu-Kyung Lee, Bangkok (Thailand), 01 June 2010

“I’m afraid honestly. But I don’t want to go home, leaving thousands fellow Red Shirts behind, who are fighting for democracy”

A 53 year old woman from Chaiyaphum province has said, sitting in a Pathumwanaram temple on May 17. There are hundreds more Red Shirts protesters in the temple, the wishful sanctuary to avoid possible army assault, as the government has given the protesters ‘3 pm ultimatum’ for leaving the protest site.

There are some 4,000 or 5,000 protesters, among who are women, elders and children for majority at the main rally site of Rajaprasong and surrounding area within some 5 sq km.
photo: Yu-Kyung Lee

There are hundreds more Red Shirts protesters in the temple, the wishful sanctuary to avoid possible army assault, as the government has given the protesters ‘3 pm ultimatum’ for leaving the protest site. However temple is located in the middle of Reds occupied territory in central Bangkok. No much safe if army moves in. There are some 4,000 or 5,000 protesters, among who are women, elders and children for majority at the main rally site of Rajaprasong and surrounding area within some 5 sq km. If not leaving the area to the ultimatum, they were warned to be in jail for 2 years, let alone risking their lives.

‘Warfare’ launched in Bangkok

It came true indeed two days later. The Red Shirts occupied area, including the sanctuary temple site, has been under fire since the army reached at Saladaeng intersection, the southern barricade of Red territory early morning on May 19. The armed forces have advanced their path, triggering M16 towards protesters who were resisting mainly with primitive weapons, such as stones, sharpen bamboo sticks, sling shots and Molotov cocktail. Nevertheless protesters were absolutely out powered by armored vehicles and automatic weapons of armed forces who apparently did ‘shoot on sight’ mission.

A pile of Scrap metals of Unexploded Ordnance, or UXO are easily found in the northern province of Xieng Khong in Laos. Some villagers collect scraps to sell in a market, from where scraps are said to be transferred to Vietnam. The prices are vary but the normal price of one kg of scraps would be 20,000 Kip (apprx. 2.5 USD), which is good amount to poor people. (18 Nov. 2008)
photo: Yu-Kyung Lee

Around 10 am, a few hundred protesters were again gathering several hundred meters away from Saladaeng intersection on west Rama V road. Yet, they embraced gun fire as well, as soldiers were using telescope, spot them and running fire after short shouting ‘Okbai’, which means ‘get out’. In the last sanctuary of temple site, six people including one woman paramedic, were shot dead in the evening by possibly snipers who have been positioned in a high stance according to witnesses.

“It was a massacre and there was some brutality” said Dr. Paul Chamber, a senior research fellow of Political Institute in Heidelberg University. “The violence was not just on the government side” added the expert on Thai politics. He analyzed the latest military operation was carefully planned out comparing to the one of April 10, involving siege tactics.

True. The siege tactics have been major part of the latest operation on Red Shirts from May 13, the day when the renegade general Khattiya Swastipon, the vivid supporter of Red Shirts, was shot to be fatally injured. He died afterwards. Yet, it was not this incident which provoked fierce resistance in different locations of the city. It was a seize tactic of the Red territory that led to blockade on protesters who could not be able to join the main site, along with cut off basic supplies.

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