Bangkok protests escalate, then relinquish streets


The Bangkok protests escalated this past week, and subsequently switched gears. I reported on the protests for the Spokesman-Review, and here are a few photos showing how mundane they looked most of the time. Near Lumpini Park, only a day after a gunman had shot at protestors and wounded one in the leg, people napped in the blocked-off streets and watched videos of a larger protest happening live outside Royal Thai Police headquarters.


Security around Lumpini park was nonexistent following last Tuesday’s shooting, but the Ratchaprasong protestors, with their far more extensive network of tents and manpower, had erected a barrier and a checkpoint for bag searches. Most of the protestors there sold Thailand flag-themed goods, and some also napped. The streets in question had been shut off to traffic, hampering normal travel to certain areas. Taxi driver Thaneesak Thongsavet, who has been in the business for over ten years, has seen more congestion than normal and fewer customers coming to Bangkok since the protests started. “No good, no good,” he said of the protests, shaking his head. The blocked roads were cleared this weekend, with protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban noting that they “would like to return traffic lanes to our Bangkok brothers and sisters,” although the protestors will continue to call for the removal of the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and her government.

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