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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Does this photo of a man with a gun actually just show Thai Army soldier in civilian clothes? Redshirt protests two weeks ago culminated in bloodshed. As well as registered journalists, citizen journos were out on the streets of Bangkok shooting the action.

In one pair of videos shot by Tony Joh, an expat living in Bangkok, we see the at-first peaceful protest that took place on the night of 11 April.

People mill about the dark streets as soothing music being broadcast by the army saturates the already-humid air of Bangkok. Then, suddenly, two shots ring out. The crowd mobilises quickly. Caught up in the excitement, Joh catches himself on camera. He is sweating heavily from anxiety and his voice betrays his emotional stress.

In the first link above, scroll down to the videos after the short heading 'And now on to the heavy videos'. They're quite long and completely unedited, but worthwhile for those interested in the feel of a night-time shoot-out.

The question remains. Who started the shooting?

The Economist (April 17-23) has a story on the protests (pp 25-26). In it, we learn that there's a word used in Bangkok for soldiers who are sympathetic to the Redshirts - alongside whom many soldiers grew up in the poor Thai countryside. They call them 'watermelons': green on the outside but red within.

Ground commanders were apparently the targets of the rogue gunmen, suggesting an inside job. Redshirt leaders have boasted of leaks from allies inside military headquarters.

Pic credit: Al Jazeera.

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