Thailand: Citizen videos of violent clash

The crackdown on the Red Shirt protesters in Thailand last Saturday by the military turned violent killing 21 people and injuring almost 900 individuals. The clash took place in a busy street in Bangkok which allowed bystanders and tourists to document the violence.

Both the soldiers and protesters accuse each other of using real bullets and hand grenades. We may never know who is telling the truth but the videos below allow us to view some of the violent scenes last Saturday.

Via Bangkok Pundit, a brief description of the videos

This video (at the 39 second mark) shows some kind of firefight and then some kind of explosive device (M79 grenade?) landing in the middle of a group of soldiers then soldiers retreating….

…Another video where you can see some guys dressed in dark clothing (red guards? or the third hand Panitan was referring too?) in the distance. At least one has an automatic gun and fires (based on other video of the area from earlier) in the direction of the soldiers.

At Vaitor’s weblog, a journalist who has been living in Bangkok for two years was shot in the arm while documenting the clash

At the moment I just have one working arm/hand to write which is quite annoying, but here are some Pics and Video Footage I took today at the heavy clashes between protesters and the police! Unfortunately I got shot and broke my right arm…

A partial list of names of people killed in Bangkok. Protesters paraded some of the dead in the streets of Bangkok as they vow to continue to push for the resignation of the Prime Minister.

FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand blames all the major political forces for the violence which took place last Saturday

You are all to blame. Violence has never yet solved society’s problems and differences of opinion

We mourn the fallen Reds. We mourn the fallen police and soldiers. We mourn the innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. Their blood was spilled in vain by the ammart. Only if we really want freedom and democracy will Thai blood mean anything. But if we only have elections to put a new crowd of fatcat dinosaurs into office, and that means Pheu Thai, things will never change in our beloved Thailand.

The soldiers simply obeyed their orders. They did not fire on those who gave the command nor put politicians in their gunsights.

Government spokesmen are now saying that no live rounds were fired at demonstrators. The high toll of dead and injured, including at least two foreign journalists, prove they lie!

Jotman believes the Red Shirts could gain more supporters from the provinces

The cause of the red shirts has been consecrated in blood. The movement now has its martyrs. Red shirts can be expected to arm themselves better in preparation for any future street confrontation. Many more supporters of the rural opposition movement, privy to evidence of the heartless brutality shown by government forces towards visitors to the Thai capital from the countryside, sickened by Bangkok's denials, are bound to step out of the woodwork. Tensions within the Thai armed forces may lead to outright fractures.

Saksith Saiyasombut thinks that the Red Shirts are no longer mere supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the movement is now a loose coalition of forces which want to overthrow the elitist system of government

What many like to neglect is that the red shirt movement is now more than just a proxy mob of Thaksin, not just a tool of anyone to overthrow the current government. It is a true unavoidable force in Thai politics with legitimate claims, with a sound political consciousness that is now haunting the political elites and bureaucrats for failing to recognize the sign of times. The problems cannot be solely linked back to Thaksin (as he is trying to promote himself as the beacon of freedom and democracy, while there is no doubt that he is not) – it is a collective failure!

A few twitter reactions:

gnarlykitty: @tambourinequeen There were eerier stuff. Smashed cars, confiscated/found bullets/casings, but there were too many people moong-ing.
jfxberns: I'm for elections. I just think that protest -> violence -> dissolution -> new government -> protest is a cycle that needs to be broken.

For background information about the political crisis in Thailand, Topic Thailand summarizes the major issues. Pictures of the violent clash are available in Pantip and Nation’s State.


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