Will return to the review of Hong Kong restaurants tomorrow. In the meantime, I went to check up on the Red Shirt protesters Sunday afternoon. Here are some video and photographs. The link to my first visit to the protest area on April 9 is here.
T-shirt being sold by one vendor, commemorating the move from Saphan Phanpha to Ratchaprasong. Last week a few days after the army clashed with protesters at the Panfa Bridge (“Saphan Phanpha”) in the old city, resulting in two dozen deaths and more than 800 injuries, the Red Shirts left that encampment, moving instead to the Ratchaprasong intersection at the heart of Bangkok’s high-end shopping district.
There are probably 4-5,000 protesters at the intersection, although they are spread out in the midst of the day seeking shade. This view is looking south along Ratchadamri road. The Grand Hyatt Erawan is the first all building on the left behind the Skytrain tracks. Gaysorn Plaza shopping center is the building immediately on the left of the picture.
Turning around and looking north towards Phetchaburi Road, you can see Central World Plaza and Isetan department store on the left, and Big C on the right.
In the old city, protesters defaced much of the encampment they evacuated, including the Democracy Monument. It seems that their respect for property (or lack thereof) continues at Central World Plaza.
The famous Erawan Shrine, a popular destination for tourists from elsewhere in Asia, is closed. A few Red Shirt protesters used a small side entrance to light incense and candles, paying their respects to the Hindu god depicted in the shrine.
One thing I noticed was a large number of monks who have joined the protesters. Unlike the situation in Burma, where the government is clearly repressing the people and I can understand why the Buddhist clergy is at the forefront of the protests, the Red Shirt position doesn’t seem to lend itself to religion. Of course, neither does the position of the Yellow Shirts, who are threatening to counter protest this week.
There were a few other farangs wandering around. Most were taking pictures while this couple just seemed to not have received the news about the area being shut down. Note to visitors to Thailand: when I talk about Thailand being a conservative country, I’m talking about the inappropriateness of this lady’s manner of dress: cover your shoulders and a bit more of your legs, please.
This farang seems to really be getting into the act, joining his wife (girlfriend?) in the crowd. I guess it is nice to support your spouse’s politics, but I’d remind him that the Immigration Department might not look too kindly on foreigners engaging in political protest.
This was about the only thing for sale in the protest area that wasn’t red.
It was a family affair with children dressed up and indoctrinated into the fun. Perhaps they are planning on being away from home for several weeks more so brought the whole family.
The heat was immense, especially in the direct sun, and I was impressed at the organization of the crowd. There were security patrols, meals being dispensed, and first aid facilities. With so much infrastructure, you have to wonder who is bankrolling the protests.