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Thailand Oct. 2008

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Thursday, October 09 2008 11:13:49

09.10.08

Dear Friends and Partners,

I’m really concerned about the almost hysterical worries, I read between the lines in some of the mails I’m receiving during these days. To make things clear – yes there’s been some incidents on Tuesday the 7th in Bangkok. Two people has been reported dead, but it’s really to question if it’s caused by direct involvement in the confrontations as one person was trapped in a exploding car, when a bomb he was carrying exploded, which points more to a gang or mafia related incident. The other dead, a younger woman seems to have a big chest wound properly caused by a ping pong bomb.

It’s never nice to hear and see when things are getting out of hands, and specially when people start to fight each other or the police in the streets. But let me put things straight, what’s happening here is nothing compared to what, specially the Europeans are facing almost weekly, after local and international football matches, which after the match (as I can see from the news here) often erupts in street fights, burning cars and broken windows around town, and so fare we have not seen anything similar here yet, and I doubt it will happen.

There was quite a few injured people! This is correct, but most not serious at all, and I do not count the cunt running around with a home made bomb into them, as he have only himself to blame that he lost his leg, as well as the guy with a bomb in his car. The cultural behavior is also reflected in the number of injuries, as Thais are more likely to seek medical assistance than any other people in the world, and even minor brushes are to be treated at the hospital, when an European more likely would just go home, clean the wound and go to bed.

What I also can feel from the questions I got by mail is that people are chocked that demonstrations here turning violent. Unlike the French, Danes, Germans etc., who on regular basis turning the streets in to burning war zones when expressing their dissatisfaction, it’s very uncommon here that Thais are fighting Thais, and the question here between people are; “why are they doing this?”, and please again note that it’s a small crowd numbering no more than 10 thousand in a city of around 15 million inhabitants.

This is not to downplay what’s going on here but please be aware of the real dangers here – the TRAFFIC.

08.10.08

Being a high volume tourist destination, nothing happening here goes unnoticed in the world press, why I will try to explain the current situation as well as I can, from the information’s I have obtained and received until today.

First, then the situation seems to be come this morning, and there has not been reported any clashes during the night. Anyhow things got out of hand yesterday, where about 430 people with 73 still hospitalized – police as well as demonstrators, are reported to be injured – some serious, and two people are reported dead, one after direct confrontation with police and the second in an unexplained car explosion.

Police have fired several rounds of teargas against the Mob (as the demonstrators are called here) but no live ammunition has been used against the Mob, and the only once injured by shots are police officers which regrettable indicates that certain elements amongst them are carrying weapons. One of the demonstrators was serious wounded due to a bomb he was carrying exploded – unintentionally (can we only assume).

As with the demonstrations last month, the affected areas are still around the Government House, which are not a touristic area and only houses very few hotels mainly used by locals. Passing by less than a kilometer from this area yesterday, while the fighting’s were at it highest (I didn’t know then there was any - actually), nothing unusual was to be seen.

The Mob assumed to consist of around 10 thousand people, and they are in general viewed as troublemakers – by the general public, more than serious political motivated crowed, as they are against but are not offering any alternative solutions of the current political crises, why all of the established political parties, including the opposition, are distancing themselves from the Mob. Some indications that the Mob counts several professional demonstrators who are paid to attend are also given, an information I don’t have from the media but from a personal pretty reliable source (I think).

Last Sunday we had the election for Bangkok Governor where the current – Khun Aprirak was reelected with a waste majority. After casting his vote, one of the (if not the) main figures behind the PAD (Peoples Alliance for Democracy) Khun Chamlong was detained by the police on accusations of disturbing the peace. He is the 2nd leading PAD member to be detained and still in police custody, and the detaining of him could be seen as one of the main reasons for the past days riots. Khun Chamlong himself a former democratic elected Governor of Bangkok, who also sought election in 2004, but ended fare behind Khun Aprirak who was then elected. He was also one of the front figures in 2006 which caused the ousting of the Former PM Thaksin.

Best regards from Bangkok,

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