The Red Shirts in Bangkok 2010
Though not a Red Shirt myself, I very much sympathised with many of their issues including the plight of the rural poor, the need for universal healthcare and proper enfranchisement in the Northern states. It was while under curfew in Bangkok that I wrote most of The Sirisuk Declaration. (see www.sirisuk.org)
There were many extraordinary aspects of the Red Shirt occupation; the numbers that turned out, the high level of funding and the expertise of the (largely) working class participants who, having provided the labour and skills to build modern Krung Thep (Bangkok) over the past 20 years, soon built a comprehensive infrastructure for the occupation including their own radio station, health-care system, recycling and waste collection, food kitchens and restaurants, water supply, transportation and so-on – at one time they were even issuing passports. It must be said that I thoroughly disapproved of the Red Shirt leadership – particularly their lavish millionaire lifestyles: when the people were on the barricades defending the occupation Taksin was in Paris shopping at Louis Vuitton. As we know, the Red shirts won and Taksin’s sister, Ying-luck, is now Prime Minister. I’m not at all hopeful that the Red Shirt revolution will change much but one can certainly empathise with the reasons for it.
Below is a short piece of film taken from the corner of my street (Sukhumvit 71) when the Red Shirts entered the city from the South East, turning the coner and heading north on Thanon Sukhumvit. Similar parades entered from other directions.
Below are some stills of the same parade from below Phra Kanong Skytrain station as I walked south down Sukhumvit.
Below, are some stills from outside the entrance to my apartment at Sirisuk on Sukhumvit 71.
Below, I walked through this part of the camp every day on my way to AUA on Ratchadamri.