Friday, October 22, 2010

The Red Shirts in Ayutthaya

The Red Shirts in Ayutthaya

October 21st, 2010 by Nick Nostitz, Guest Contributor · 10 Comments

On Sunday, 17 October 2010, the Red Shirts held a gathering in Ayutthaya. Red Shirts came from many provinces; altogether slightly over 10,000 gathered in Ayutthaya's sports stadium. I drove on my motorcycle from Bangkok and on the way I passed many Red Shirts in cars and pick-up trucks, and on motorcycles.

There were many police security checkpoints along the road, who let most Red Shirts through unhindered. For some Red Shirts the journey was not without problems — a guard from Ang Thong province told me that the caravan from the north met around Chainat province with so called "Lueah Bai" (spikes made from large nails), which disabled several cars.

At the sports stadium there was a massive Red Shirt market, selling OTOP products, amulets, Red Shirt paraphernalia, and food. The entry was under heavy security, protesters had to pass scanners, and members of the bomb squad were there as well. The protester blinded by a bullet on 19 May 2010 in front of the Phuea Thai Headquarters sold lottery tickets, and relatives of protesters killed on 10 April collected donations.

Inside the outdoor stadium the lawn was quite muddy, but it soon filled up with Red Shirts. Speakers I noticed were Sombat Boonngamanong of Red Sunday fame, Somyod Prueksakasemsuk, the leader of the June 24th Group (who acted as official organizers of the rally), Rambo Isaarn's younger brother, and the local Phuea Thai MP Surachet. Surachai Sae Dan from the radical "Daeng Siam" group was there as well, but did not take the stage. When a helicopter flew over the ground protesters shouted abuse. Two Red Shirts in military uniforms play acted beating up a protester in a prisoner's uniform wearing a mask of Nattawut Saikua's face.

I took a break. When I returned to the stage area, Deputy House speaker and Phuea Thai MP Col. Dr. Apiwan Wiriyachai was on the stage. Then it was Jatuporn's turn. He first sang a few songs. He gave much space during his speech to attack Methi — the former Red Shirt activist and now government witness. Jatuporn attacked the Department for Special Investigation (DSI) over the arrests of the 11 in Chiangmai and the Nonthaburi Bomb, and decried the different standards applied with bail applications for the People's Alliance for Democracy and the Red Shirts.

After Jatuporn's speech the event ended with fabulous fireworks, and a concert afterwards.

Tags: Thailand · UDD


  • 1ahyangyang // Oct 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Keep up the good show, REDS will eventually bridge through between new and old conservative elites and built a new future of Thailand.

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  • 2observer_bkk // Oct 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I took the train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. The train was quite full, but at first I saw only very few redshirts. From the discussions I picked up that everyone around was a supporter of the redshirts and once they started to sing their songs in the compartment it was all clear.
    Once they get off the train they put on their redshirts. I hopped onto one of the pick-up trucks full of redshirts that brought me through the endless traffic jam from the train station to the stadium.
    Even though it was wet and muddy the mood was jubilant. Nothing more to add to Nick's excellent report.
    Maybe there were two fireworks. The first firework was Khun Jatuporn's fiery speech. His rhetoric, his facial expressions and gestures are just a pleasure to study and it's amazing how he can glue the audience's ears to his mouth.
    I made some photos from the stage and I also prepared a whole series of Khun Jatuporn's expressions while he was speaking:

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  • 3Mr Damage // Oct 21, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    It would seem that as much as Abbhisit's military installed regime arrests, intimidates, slanders and shoots dead the red shirts they are not going to go away. Meanwhile tales of unrestrained gross corruption are revealed almost daily as the coalition digs their snouts into the public finance trough as deep as they can stick them.

    To quote Talking Heads, same as it ever was…same as it ever was…

    On a related note, interesting how the elite and wannabes in too many countries feel it is their birthright to rule, whereas all they ever seem to do is corrupt the political process to suck the public finances dry. The task of running the country well seems to elude them in the stampede to fraud and corruption. But maybe I am just cynical.

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  • 4Tarrin // Oct 22, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Surachai Sae Dan from the radical "Daeng Siam" group was there as well,

    I have to disagree with Nick about saying that Daeng Siam is radicle. I went to the Daeng Siam meeting once and they are one of the most progressive group among the red, far from being radicle. Surachai never demand for any violence or arm struggle but rather a transferring of power in a peaceful way. To call Daeng Siam as radicle is greatly inaccurate.

    Furthermore, I want to criticize Jatuporn about his speech. I think he should; stop bashing people, stop the none sense singing, and start educate people more about democracy and what kind of corrupted governing system.

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  • 5Nick Nostitz // Oct 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm


    Radical does not mean violent in this context, but radical in their ideological convictions.

    From the:

    1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a person who favours extreme or fundamental change in existing institutions or in political, social, or economic conditions

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  • 6Alex // Oct 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    For those who don't know yet, there is always a clip by the pretty presenter (?Keepkay) with her charming smile for all Red Sunday activities. Of course that includes the trip to Ayuthaya on the 17th Oct.

    Click this link below and do it again with the window on the right.

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  • 7rote // Oct 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    God bless all Red Shirt People and help them bring back Justice and Democracy !

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  • 8john francis lee // Oct 23, 2010 at 1:20 am

    I agree with Nick on the term 'radical'… and I use your spelling, 'radicle', myself very often to try to emphasize that fact.

    For 'radical', no matter its denotation, has come to have the 'bomb-throwing' connotations of the cartoon anarchist.

    While 'radicle' has, for me at least, a closer association with roots, as in 'radish', or botanical anatomy.

    And our problems are sometimes (now!) best solved by going to their roots and… uprooting them.

    No more violent than gardening, really, à la Voltaire.

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  • 9denyzofisarn // Oct 23, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Tarrin & NN

    Surachai sae Dan is at home with many comrades of the 60s. Radicals don't go around advertising their "whatever it takes" ways. Have you seen pictures of the Surachai sae Dan type at Murdaharn enclave? Very much like the Karen private army along the border.

    When Jatuporn said that he didn't know any of those bombers, he was telling the truth. This is how "cell" works. The reason he was attacking Methi was cos' that's 'staple' of redshirts and Ai Too is second to none in Thailand when it comes to qualification. And, that is a craft he has perfected. After the surrender at Rajprasong stage and we know as an anti-climax of the marathorn protest. For the redshirts in my village it is about the money. So they recruiting members for meeting and hoping their recruits will do their parts. Monetary reward will depend on one's link recruitment success, levels down as with direct selling marketing. An early bird situation. This would send chill down Abhisit's spine, as depicted by Chalerm Youbumrung, come this general election.

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  • 10Peter Marshall // Oct 23, 2010 at 5:13 am

    Prem Tinsulanonda's principal instrument is the Democrat party which, exploiting the circumstances of his day and age, he has used to win power over the Thai people and the Thai state. Through the party he practices the violence, verbal and physical, whose effectiveness is becoming increasingly contrasted with the ineffectiveness of the media, the opposition political parties, independent human rights organizations and of the constitution.

    The Democrat party is now like the feudal system. Nothing has changed.

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