When I first heard about the events in Thailand I had a flashback, to not so long ago, when another country, Iran, was divided amongst themselves due to politics.
Just the other day I received this email from my father, who recently married a beautiful woman from Thailand, whom he calls his "Thai Princess". In this email is what I am sharing with you below. I have asked my fathers permission to post his email and this information on my blog. This is, obviously, very near & dear to my father's heart, as his "Thai Princess" is very near where all of this is going on.
When I received this email my thoughts & prayers went out to both of them and the people of Thailand.
Here is the email from my father:
I am not sure if you will want to watch any of these. I assembled these videos because it has been hard to easily describe what has been happening in Bangkok this past month. I think these videos will help you understand a little bit of what is happening.
I have assembled a collection of almost 40 video links to try and describe the protests that have been going on in Bangkok since March 12th. Be forewarned that the images from April 10th contain violence. Two in particular are very graphic and I have added a WARNING!!! to those ones. The protests turned violent on Saturday. There were 21 people who died and over 800 injured.
These video reports come from various sources including international news reports from Australian TV, Associated Press, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera English, and China...as well as videos from independent individuals. Some reports contain in-depth interviews and/or analysis of what is at the root of the protests.
On the other hand, you should know that my "Thai Princess" lives 10km to 20km from any of the main protest sites. Apart from the protest areas, most of Bangkok is functioning, although the protests have created anxiety and inconvenience. And all Thais seem to be affected emotionally by the violence last Saturday. The blame game continues on both sides. In truth, I think there is plenty of blame to go around. Sadly, I do not see an easy solution to the deep rift in Thai society nor is there any easy way out of this political crisis.
Thursday March 11, 2010 — The environment of Thailand Tourism has been captured at different attractions in Bangkok (Grand Palace, MBK, Siam Paragon). The over all environment shows that even though the red shirts protestors are demonstrating, the tourism in the Kingdom has not been affected. Tourists are enjoying as usual!
Friday March 12, 2010 — Hundreds of supporters of deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra began in Bangkok for a series of anti-government protests over the weekend.
Saturday March 13, 2010 — Large parts of downtown Bangkok have turned red, where tens of thousands of opposition supporters - part of a "Red Shirt" movement - are demanding the government's ouster and fresh elections.
The Red Shirts are supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, the country's deposed prime minister, and they want political change now.
The demonstrators have warned that they will press ahead with their agitation until their demands are met - even if it means "paralysing" Bangkok.
Aljazeera's Wayne Hay reports from Bangkok, where about 50,000 troops have been deployed.
Sunday March 14, 2010 — Red-shirt protesters up pressure on Thai PM - CCTV
Sunday March 14, 2010 — Supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra swarmed into Bangkok today. Wearing their signature red shirts they converged on the Democracy Monument. Today was relatively peaceful but tomorrow they have threatened to spread out all over the city in their attempt to bring the city to a halt and force the current gov't out of office.
Sunday March 14, 2010 — Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the Thai capital, Bangkok, for a big rally demanding that the government calls new elections. The demonstrators were mainly allies of the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.
Sunday March 14, 2010 — Red-clad supporters of deposed Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowed Sunday to march on military barracks holding the government as they stepped up protests in Bangkok amid tight security. Duration: 01:15.
Sunday March 14, 2010 — Tens of thousands of 'red shirts' have gathered to protest against the Thai government. CNN's Dan Rivers reports.
Monday March 15, 2010 — Thousands of red-shirted demonstrators marched through Bangkok, vowing to topple the Thai government. They're demanding the dissolution of parliament by Tuesday evening.
Tuesday March 16, 2010 — Red-shirt protesters collect blood to pour on Bangkok's government house, in what they describe as a symbolic gesture for democracy.
Tuesday March 16, 2010 — Protesters in Thailand have splashed hundreds of litres of their own blood outside government headquarters in a "sacrifice for democracy" after their demands for new elections were rejected.
Wednesday March 17, 2010 — After four days of continuing protests, can the Thai opposition force the prime minister to resign? Is the current government capable of clinging on to power?
Saturday March 20, 2010 — In the face of the protests, Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai prime minister has stood firm and refused the protestors demands. But if nothing else, the huge numbers of protestors confirmed that Thailand is a deeply divided country.
Saturday March 20, 2010 - Red Shirt Rally March
Tuesday April 6, 2010 — Anti-government protesters in Thailand have defied a government ban to march through more areas of Bangkok, shutting down parts of the city. The government had ordered the red-shirts, as the protesters are known, not to demonstrate along 11 key routes. But the reds, who are calling on the government to step down, fanned out into Bangkok's business district. The move followed scuffles earlier in the day between riot police and protesters. No-one was hurt but it marked the first clash since the protests began almost a month ago.
Arrest warrants have now been issued for ten of the red-shirt leaders. But the court ruled that the arrests can only be made if the leaders are on the stage that the protesters have set up at their camp in Bangkok's shopping hub.
The red-shirts have now established two camps in Bangkok - one in the government district and a second in the city's commercial centre. Their blockade has caused shops to close and tourists to leave hotels.
Early on Tuesday, they announced plans to march through parts of the city declared off-limits by the government.
Brief scuffles broke out as riot police blocked their way. Protesters pelted police with eggs and plastic bottles, but the scuffles subsided with no injury to either side.
The red-shirts then suspended their plans only to reinstate them hours later. "From now we will make an offensive move," a protest leader Nattawut Saikua told the crowd. "Let our people ... march to all the banned 11 routes immediately. If there's anything blocking us, break in with peace." Groups of red-shirts then rallied in Bangkok's business district, carrying flags and riding on motorbikes.
The security forces have said publicly that they will not use force to disperse the protestors. But the BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Rachel Harvey, says that having kept a deliberately low profile for weeks, they are now a very visible presence.
The government sought to calm the atmosphere.
Both sides have said from the start that they want to avoid violence. A court ruled on Monday that the government had the power to evict the protesters under existing special security legislation.
More than three years after the army deposed Thaksin Shinawatra as Thailand's prime minister, instability continues to grip the country. The red-shirts are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who came to power in the wake of the military-backed coup. They say they will not move from Bangkok until their demands for fresh elections are met. Last week the two sides held talks but discussions broke up without resolution.
Wednesday, 7 April 2010 - Thailand PM declares state of emergency (BBC News, Rachel Harvey reporting)
Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok amid escalating anti-government protests. In a televised address, Mr Abhisit said the move - which gives sweeping new powers to the security forces to tackle protesters - would help restore order.
Thursday, 8 April 2010 - CNN Report
Thursday, 8 April 2010 - Thailand, State of Emergency (As Broadcast by ABC: Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Thailand's embattled premier declared a state of emergency in Bangkok after protesters stormed parliament in a dramatic escalation of their bid to topple the government. MPs fled and several senior government figures were airlifted by military helicopter after red-shirted supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra forced their way into the country's parliamentary compound.
Friday, 9 April 2010 - Thailand's red-shirt protesters reinstate TV station (BBC News)
Thousands of Thai protesters seized control of a satellite transmission station, forcing officials to allow an opposition TV channel back on air. Security forces retreated after their efforts to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannon failed.
Friday, 9 April 2010 - Thai Protesters Storm Into TV Compound (Associated Press)
Thai protesters stormed a TV compound just outside Bangkok Friday, trying to restart their Peoples Channel that had been shut down by the government. More than a dozen people were reported hurt.
Friday, 9 April 2010 - THAICOM Under Siege (CNN News)
Saturday, 10 April 2010 - Raw Video: Thai Troops Advance on Protesters (Associated Press)
Thai security forces using tear gas and rubber bullets fought street battles against anti-government demonstrators Saturday, launching a large-scale crackdown to try to end a month of disruptive protests in the Thai capital.
Saturday, 10 April 2010 - Violence flares in Thai capital (Al Jazeera English)
Clashes have turned increasingly violent between anti-government protesters and troops in Thailand. The soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets on Saturday at the so-called red-shirts, who want parliament immediately dissolved and fresh elections called.
Saturday, 10 April 2010 - Thai troops try to clear protest camps (ThaiFAQ.com)
Soldiers and police in riot gear clashed with red-shirted anti-government protestors as they tried to clear them from an encampment in the city.
This situation turned from peaceful to violent in a split second. One minute everyone was dancing and the next they were running for cover as the military opened fire. Sorry for the language in some parts but it was a little intense at times.
Saturday, 10 April 2010 - WARNING!!! Graphic images of soldiers being shot and soldiers firing into the red shirts.
Saturday, 10 April 2010 - WARNING!!!! This is an extremely graphic video of a Thai Red Shirt killed by a bullet to the head.
An independent panel conducting autopsies on 12 bodies of the red shirts protesters who were killed when the red shirts protesters battled with troops revealed that nine of them were shot by high power rifles. It was reported by The Nation newspaper that high-powered rifles can only be used by specially trained gunmen particularly in the army.
Sunday, 11 April 2010 - Thai red shirts defiant after protests (Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay reports)
Red shirt protesters in Thailand are refusing to negotiate with the government after the worst rioting in two decades yesterday left at least 21 people dead.
The anti-government protesters want parliament dissolved and Abhisit Vejjajiva, the prime minister, to leave the country.
A certain calm has returned to the streets of the capital Bangkok, but the stand-off is still far from over.
Sunday, 11 April 2010 - Red Shirts, Deadly Protests in Bangkok (As Broadcast by ABC: Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Thai authorities say at least 18 people have died in confrontations between security forces and anti-government protesters in the country's bloodiest political violence in almost two decades.
Sunday, 11 April 2010 - Bangkok clashes death toll climbs to 20 (BBC News, Rachel Harvey reporting)
At least 20 people are now known to have died in clashes between Thai troops and opposition supporters in Bangkok and more than 800 were hurt. The BBC's Rachel Harvey visited the scene of some of the worst violence to survey the damage. The worst violence came when soldiers and police made an unsuccessful attempt to retake an area held by opposition supporters on Saturday evening. A government spokesman denied reports that live rounds had also been fired.
Sunday, 11 April 2010 - Death toll from Bangkok protests climbs to 21 (CNN News)
John Vause reports from Thailand that defiant demonstrators may now be harder to move.
Sunday, 11 April 2010 - Thai government feels fallout from deadly clashes (BBC News)
Monday, 12 April 2010 - Red Shirt Protests, Thailand Crisis, Interview (As Broadcast by ABC: Australian Broadcasting Corporation )
Anti-government protesters in Thailand have paraded the bodies of dead comrades through the streets of Bangkok. Twenty-one people were killed and more than 800 were injured in weekend clashes with troops. A procession of cars, trucks and taxis filled with Red Shirt demonstrators moved through the historic district of the capital with the bodies of their fallen comrades.