The United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship, known as the Red Shirts, mobilized thousands of their members last March to press for the resignation of Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva whom they accuse of being undemocratic and illegitimate. Their demands: dissolve the Parliament and conduct new elections.
Many Red Shirts are supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra but not all of them are fans of the fugitive leader.
After two months of maintaining protest camps in various parts of Bangkok, the Red Shirts were forced to disperse when soldiers launched a crackdown against the protesters. Violence escalated last May 19 during the final assault operation of the military which led to street battles, riots, and looting. The retreating protesters also burned several buildings in the city.
So far, 52 were killed and more than 400 were injured in the “urban war zone.” The protesters accused the government of ordering the “massacre” of protesters but the government blamed the “terrorist-protesters” for the casualties.
The government has already regained full control of Bangkok but protests are still reported in the provinces.
Global Voices focused on the citizen media coverage of the protests and the protest crackdown. Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, became essential in monitoring the situation in Bangkok.
Featured Global Voices stories
01 June – Thailand: Continuing State of Emergency
21 May – Thailand: Blog reactions to Bangkok violence
20 May – Thailand: Arson in Bangkok, protests spread to other provinces
18 May – Thailand: Red Shirt protesters remain defiant
16 May – Bangkok clashes: Pictures, Videos and Twitter reports
15 May – Thailand: Protest blockade ends in violence
29 Apr – Thailand: Online censorship amid protests
12 Apr – Thailand: Citizen videos of violent clash
11 Apr – Thailand: Bloggers document violent clashes
16 Mar – Thailand: “Bloody” Tuesday?
15 Mar – Thailand: ‘Reds’ vow a bigger rally today
12 Mar – Thailand: Calm before the storm?
11 Mar – Thailand: The Red Shirts are coming!
Check each article for recommended websites that provide liveblog reports, pictures, and videos of the Bangkok clashes.
Reactions from other countries
Twitter posts about the Red Shirt rally can be read through these hashtags: #redtweet, #rednews, #redmob, #redmarch, #redbuffalo, #stupidred, #redtail, #redshirt, #redbuff, #thaicrisis, #PADtweet, and #WeLoveThai. Global Voices recommends #redtweet and #redshirt
Map of protests and clashes
Thanks to Richard Barrow and John for creating and updating these google maps which showed the areas of Red Shirt protest zones in Bangkok and the “dangerous” places where clashes between protesters and soldiers have been reported.
View Red crisis in Bangkok in a larger map
View Bangkok Dangerous – Red Shirts Rally March-May 2010 in a larger map
Background on Red Shirts
The two-month protest of the Red Shirts may be unprecedented in Thailand but it was not the first time that the Red Shirts have almost caused the downfall of the Abhisit government. Read these Global Voices stories about the April 2009 Red Shirt protests:
The original provocative protesters in Thailand are not the Red Shirts. Before the Red Shirts, there were the Yellow Shirts who invaded Bangkok’s international airport and government building in 2008. For more information, read the special page created by Global Voices about the Yellow Shirt protests in 2008.