Solidarity with the Thai Red Shirts!

12/5/2010
On our hands right now are the conditions of a massacre!

This might seem too strong, but tonight the Thai Government will attempt to forcibly remove Red Shirt protesters from their enclave in Bangkok. The Government has announced that it will use violence.

Their rationale is that the protest is damaging to property and to business (inc. tourism). I can only condemn this logic as thoroughly debased.

So far the Government has already reportedly caused the deaths of 29 people and more than 1400 injuries. Since these are the reported figures, we can only suppose that they represent the lowest estimates.

Tonight’s assault, if it goes ahead, will inevitably lead to many more deaths. Don’t let it go ahead!

Solidarity with the oppressed people of Thailand!

——–
Update: 13/5/2010

Plans were postponed (thank God), but the plan is still to surround the camp this evening at 6pm (11:00 GMT), and to forcibly remove protesters. BBC correspondents say it is by no means certain that the plan will go ahead, as too politically volatile and logistically difficult. Perhaps journalists will provide some extra cover, as a massacre broadcast live across the world may be, on reflection, as bad for tourism and trade as the encampment. But, I still worry. We will see what tomorrow brings and hope that it doesn’t bring death.

BBC story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8679218.stm

—-
Update: 20:41, 13/5/10

“Renegade General” shot in head by Government sniper:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/13/gunfire-bangkok-redshirts

Note: I don’t condone violence by either side. Violence even in the name of democracy and against armed and violent oppression is extremely problematic, if not absolutely unjustifiable. Also, it is unclear exactly what the Red Shirts stand for, and so it is good to be wary. It certainly seems that the red shirts are not a unanimous body, but are in fact are a coalition of different groups with differing aims and agendas. It is probable then, that there are specific agendas I cannot support. But, in as far as they stand for democracy, and in as far as they are communal expression of common griefs, and in as far as they are being violently oppressed by an undemocratic government, I give my full support.

——–

update: 14/5/10
10am

Shootings reported. At least one protester dead – shot in eye. Others injured as Army uses tear gas and live ammunition to “close down” protests. Protester leaders say they will stay and are not afraid to die. So, it’s tense. The “Red General” shot yesterday is said to be alive and in a stable condition after undergoing brain surgery.

———–
update: 15/5/10
12.46pm

Area declared a ‘live firing zone’ by Thai army, who are “dispersing” (i.e. attacking and killing) protesters with live ammunition. The Guardian reports at least 17 more dead, shot by soldiers, with many more injured (the Guardian reports at least 147 more). Journalists have also come under fire, with at least three (a France 24 Broadcaster, and a thai VoiceTV cameraman and a photographer) injured by bullets. The Red General (Khattiya Sawasdipol, also known as Seh Daeng) is said to be in critical condition, with low chances of surviving.

It has only just begun, and it is already a massacre. Very upsetting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/15/thai-death-toll-redshirts-troops
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8681833.stm

——
update 16/5/10
00:30

Still going on. Slow-speed massacre. More dead. Protesters standing firm. Talk of civil war – but from whom? With what? Guerilla tactics? That’s not civil war, that’s messy and violent suicide. If I could have given a speech yesterday, when the leaders were saying “we will stay!”, I’d have said: “Let’s go. Let’s not play this game. Let’s go home now since they want to shoot our soft bodies with their hard bullets, and let’s not “sacrifice” ourselves. And when the soldiers have gone home we’ll still be there. Only more of us, more determined, more angry, more sure of ourselves. Not dead.” As it is, I wonder at the politics of these “leaders” (the press’s words, who knows what they are to these people?) who say “stay” knowing that it means more dead. And why end in slow defeat (except through some perverse “sacraficial” logic?) rather than stage a dramatic evacuation (e.g. a mass break out into huge march). But, it is a difficult decision. Most of all I condemn the Thai “Government” – the murderous bastards. The rhetoric of rationalisation they are employing to sanctify this murder is disgusting. But it is the deaths and the inevitability of more deaths that is most tragic.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/protesters-defy-soldiers-in-thai-standoff-1974576.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/15/redshirts-warn-civil-war-thai-troops

————
16/5/10
14:14 (UK)

BBC reporting is very right-wing. Certainly it is ‘pro-State’ (if not fully pro- the Thai Government), and so works to incriminate the protesters and to excuse the Government violence. It also minimizes the killings, always publishing the lowest estimates, and maximizes the “violence” of the protesters. See this video, for example:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8685051.stm

First of all it focalises the story through the army/state, described as “security forces” (a very loaded construction), implicitly encouraging empathy with the “struggle” faced by the army. It then adopts the discourse of “control” (as opposed to destruction, violence, anarchy), positioning the State/Army as the agents of control and the rightful owners of “normalcy”. It then presents “the protesters point of view”, as though this were merely a conflict of opinion or of beliefs (rather than analysis: e.g. “protesters want this Government to step down”). It then offers up against this “peaceful” protest a huge “but”, which is the turn of the piece: “But, it’s looking more like a rebellion now, [indicates a few burning tyres] and the problem for the Government is how to get control, and get control quickly, because the casualties are mounting”. Note how this positions the Government as holders of normalcy, who are trying to re-establish (peaceful) control-as-normalcy. Meanwhile the protesters are implicitly made to carry the blame for their own deaths, since they are constructed as the agents of anarchy, the cause of the violence. Finally, the report concludes that their are really “deep issues here, but this [indicates burning tyres] has got to be got under control first before any of those issues can really be addressed”. In other words, the protesters are made to carry the blame not only for the violence (figured also in the buring tyres imagery), but are also blamed for holding back negotiations that would lead to a resolution of the problems – i.e. a lack of democracy.

When broken down, how skewed is this version of events? Not least because no soldiers have died except the one shot by friendly fire, but many protesters have, and because the protesters are open to negotiations, but these have been refused/shut-down by the Government. In other words, not only is this a question of biased rhetoric, but this is a case of factual inaccuracy at the level of rhetorical judgments (i.e., they have reported the correct figures, but their rhetoric doesn’t take any of these into account in their judgments/”analysis”).

Very poor, a bit sickening.
—–
14:46
Hm… or maybe it posits neoliberal “western” capitalism as the norm (hence my comment about being pro-State (as stablity) but not necessarily pro- the Thai Govt.

——-
17/5/10
11am

More shooting, as Govt. deadline passes for women and children to leave. Estimated 5000 protesters still there. Red General dead.

Seems to be a new phase in Western media of claiming Red shirts using children as human shields. Obviously problematic for a number of reasons: e.g. 1) logic of sacrifice is bad; 2) but, how actual and how widespread? is this sensationalisation? 3) and, who is more to blame, the protesters or the people shooting at the protesters even though they know men, women and children will be killed?

Here is:
An interactive map: http://bit.ly/d4xiPi
Some Twitter lists:
http://twitter.com/JoeSmeets/bangkok-situational
http://twitter.com/XinJeisan/thailand
http://twitter.com/LambertSt/thailand
Guardian Blog:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2010/may/17/thailand-protests

Interesting email on Guardian Blog:
10.36am:
Peter Jenkison, an English resident in Bangkok, emails

“It is s getting rough out there again and it seems that the army is intent on finishing this to try and root out the armed faction. It is going to be very bloody but Thailand has a history of moving forward politically through the spilling of blood. This is well known to the organisers of this faction and the people on the streets are cannon fodder.

Please tell Ben Doherty to keep his head down as they have been specifically targetting journalists as well as medical workers.”

—-
17/5/10
22:11

Good blog:http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/

Other blogs:
http://uk.asiancorrespondent.com/bangkok-pundit-blog
http://wdpress.blog.co.uk/
http://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/the-battle-for-bangkok/
http://www.khikwai.com/blog/ partic.: http://khikwai.com/blog/2010/05/10/the-end-of-the-beginning/
———
19/05/10
9.25am

It’s the beginning of the end for the Thai encampment. Troops attacked in force today, firing “brutally” and “indiscriminately” at Thai protesters, Medical workers and Journalists alike. According to Ben Doughtery, the Guardian’s reporter, the death toll could rise into the hundreds.

This morning saw armed resistance by a minority of protesters, as the Army moved in, firing at anything that moved including ambulances and the already wounded. However, it seems that the Red Shirt leaders have surrendered in order to avoid bloodshed, and have urged protesters to leave to avoid being shot.

Meanwhile, red shirt supporters across the country have being protesting the Government actions in solidarity with those in Bangkok:

“The antigovernment movement has massive support across the country. Across regional Thailand, redshirt supporters and sympathisers staged their own rallies. The Khon Kaen town hall was captured by protesters, in Ubon Thani they torched it.” (from Guardian)

There are also reports that rioting is spreading throughout Bangkok, from the protest areas being forcefully “cleared” to other areas of the city:

“The real story in Bangkok now is outside Rachaprasong. Just before lunchtime fires and rioting started all around the edge of the main part of the city. Although most of the redshirt leaders have surrendered the rest seem to have splintered all over the city and are bent on destroying the place. It now looks like there will be random violence over the city and maybe in the regions too. That makes it more frightening than before.” – – (Pro-Govt. Bangkok Resident quoted on Guardian Thai protest Blog).

Waiting game, now. How many more dead? Tragic.

——–
19/5 10am
Stock exchange and other “institutional” buildings in Bangkok are being set on fire.
http://twitpic.com/1p32g5
———
19/5/10 20.07pm

Here’s the Guardian’s round up: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/19/thailand-redshirt-protests-violence.

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~ by Wit on May 12, 2010.

One Response to “Solidarity with the Thai Red Shirts!”

  1. Ха классный сайт, вы тоже так думаете? Или он не оень, вроди сайт отстойный!

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