I not too long ago returned from ten days in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Whereas there, I found that I knew little or no about Thai politics, actually not sufficient to know who the Crimson Shirts had been or why they had been demonstrating in Bangkok. Being current in a rustic when one thing out of the odd is occurring tends to focus one’s consideration on that nation not solely throughout the go to but in addition subsequent to it. For me, I appear to realize a vested curiosity in a spot if I used to be there throughout an vital occasion. Because of this, my data of Thai politics started altering throughout my go to there. Now again house, I stay taken with following the information of the anti-government protests of the Crimson Shirts in Bangkok.
In January 2010, I began planning a month-long journey to India. On the similar time I managed to persuade an excellent good friend dwelling in Sydney to satisfy me in Bangkok after my travels in India. We agreed to satisfy in Bangkok the second week of March. Our plans consisted of staying for 4 nights in Bangkok earlier than travelling right down to a seashore resort south of Pattaya for an extra 4 nights. Our final two days could be spent in Bangkok earlier than flying house. Not surprisingly, our plans did not all the time observe the road we anticipated them to as a result of political unrest in Bangkok.
My good friend was already conscious from the Australian media that the Thai authorities anticipated protests and potential clashes with a bunch referred to as the Crimson Shirts across the time we had been assembly in Bangkok. Coming from London, I do not bear in mind studying or listening to something concerning the politics in Thailand that may have alerted me to any future bother. My good friend wrote me a apprehensive e mail about three weeks earlier than we had been to satisfy in Bangkok. She learn of the mounting uneasiness of the Thai authorities and different Asian states concerning the proposed anti-government demonstrations. I, once more, dismissed her issues. It wasn’t till we had been in Bangkok that I realised issues had been extra critical than I assumed and that she was proper in worrying!
I arrived in Bangkok from Delhi on Tuesday morning, 9 March 2010, with my good friend arriving a number of hours later from Sydney. We had been staying on the Davis Lodge within the japanese a part of Bangkok for 4 nights. I heard nothing about any demonstrations on the worldwide airport, from the taxi driver or from the lodge workers after I arrived. The 2 of us began our sightseeing of Bangkok on Wednesday and Thursday, travelling by river boat and skytrain to the varied sights. It was solely late Thursday that we began to get the information that the ‘Crimson Shirts’ hoped to have 1,000,000 demonstrators for his or her weekend protests. Our lodge workers really helpful that we keep across the lodge on Friday as they did not know what to anticipate. We took their recommendation and listened intently to the information to see if we’d have bother leaving the town the following morning for the seaside. There have been already reviews of individuals massing in Bangkok for the weekend demonstrations. On the similar time, the reviews indicated that the numbers arriving to protest had been a lot smaller than anticipated Motorcycle T Shirts.
The following day we left for Jomtien Seashore simply south of Pattaya Seashore. Once more we noticed no indication of bother. There have been no obstacles or police-blocks on the highway as we left the town nor as we drove on the motorway right down to Pattaya. Throughout the weekend, we started listening to extra about demonstrations, the dimensions of the crowds and the rhetoric of the leaders of the Crimson Shirts. It was reported that as a substitute of 1,000,000 demonstrators solely about 100,000 Crimson Shirt demonstrators had turned up in Bangkok by Sunday. We realized that the low numbers had been due, partly, to the federal government blockades of all entry roads to Bangkok from the northern rural areas.
It could be that you’re now questioning, “What are these colored shirts in Thailand? Who’re the Crimson Shirts? Are they totally different from the Yellow Shirts?” Let me clarify:
As a generality, the Crimson-shirts are supported by the agricultural populace and the city poor. The Crimson Shirts are often known as the ‘United Entrance for Democracy towards Dictatorship’ (UDD). They supported the previous prime minister of Thailand from 2001 to 2006, Thaksin Shinawatra, as a result of they believed he cared what occurred to them and listened to their issues. Regardless of PM Thaksin’s billions of in wealth, he’s thought of a hero to the downtrodden Thais. Not surprisingly, the Crimson Shirts supported the following two prime ministers chosen by the identical authorities: Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat. There are additionally pro-democracy activists taking part within the present demonstrations who disagree with the authorized basis of the 2006 army coup which ousted PM Thaksin.
The Crimson Shirts elementary perception is that the current authorities of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is illegitimate as a result of it got here to energy after disputed court docket rulings dissolved two elected pro-Thaksin governments, following the 2006 army coup. They need the present parliament dissolved and new elections held.
The Yellow Shirts are primarily middle-class and concrete elites who assist the present authorities of PM Abhisit. The Yellow Shirts are certainly one of Thailand’s lively political teams, the ‘Folks’s Alliance for Democracy’ (PAD). They’re typically joined by an anti-Crimson Shirt group which attracts workplace staff, middle-class households, lecturers and a few low-wage staff. In earlier demonstrations by the Yellow Shirts’, there has typically been extra violence and confrontation.