Thailand: "The protest has turned into a rebellion or insurrection"

Boing Boing reader Alex Ringis in Western Australia, who has been keeping close watch on the political upheaval in Bangkok, Thailand, writes:

I'm sure you've heard by now, that Bangkok / Thailand is kind of a big deal in the news? I feel really bad in pointing out that this is what I feared way back when I brought this issue to Boing Boing's attention, screaming something to the effect of "This is going to be HUGE" – it gives me no pleasure to be proven correct. Tonight Thailand is virtually in a state of Civil War.

Here are two editorials:

Ron's latest update from is exceptionally well written, balanced, and gives a fantastic insight into how things got so bad so quickly.

And today I was shared a link to an editorial in the Bangkok Post, which effectively mirrors what I have personally been thinking all weekend – that this "Protest" has actually turned into a rebellion or insurrection.

Here is "citizen journalist" video from "Ace Wushu" [embedded above]. He's updating at least every hour or so from his apartment complex, where it sounds like he's barricaded in with a bunch of frightened Thais.

And this video, "Red Shirt Got Shot" is just… so distressing. I am literally in tears at most of this footage. Din Daeng, earlier on Saturday, May 15. I don't think I can stand to watch any of this stuff anymore. I'm so upset at what is happening. Tonight I'm meditating on peace for Thailand very very hard.

INSET IMAGE, from A protest poster in Bangkok, May, 2010. The Thai lettering on the figure is meant to imply that several top politicians in Thailand "desire death and chaos."

An earlier update from Alex sent to Boing Boing on May 14 follows, with more news links.

Thailand has become the top story on Al-Jazeera, CNN, and BBC's international news pages.

Probably related to this – the Red Shirts' Self-proclaimed "Military Leader", "Seh Daeng" (who lead a bunch of black-clad goons who were part of the violence last month) was shot in the head by a sniper, presumably by the military or by elements in the now divided Red Shirts (some are "Doves" And others are "Hawks"). Worth mentioning, Seh Daeng was shot AS he was being interviewed by a New York Times Journalist, there's an interview with him on CNN where the journalist claims he felt the bullet "graze his head". Apparently the last thing Daeng said was "The Military can't get in here".

Believe it or not, I am scheduled to fly into Bangkok on Monday. While some time ago I initially intended to go into the heart of things and take some shots or footage and interview some people, now that things seem to be getting completely out of hand I'm reconsidering that now. Several Journalists have been shot – at least one Canadian, one French, and several Thai ones. Apparently the French Journalist is in critical condition. This is all apparently due to crossfire. I don't have the resources of CNN / BBC reporters who enjoy the luxury of flak jackets/helmets and armored vehicles. I love Thailand, and want to bring her plight to the world, but risking my life for a bit of good footage seems like a choice I shouldn't have to make. We will see.

Here is some intense and dramatic footage of what I believe is the Canadian Journalist I mentioned being shot in the leg, then carried off, with the French Journalist afterwards.

My Government [Australia] has an active travel advisory against all but "essential" travel to Bangkok, and many friends over there are now advising us not to come, although some who have just holed up in their condos seem to think it's should be ok – the Thai paradox – even when there's a revolution going on, some people are all "Meh, no big deal. Have some more 'Som Tam'"… The bottom line is it's almost certain if we go we'll be confined to our hotel rooms, or travelling on foot if we wish to go anywhere. With a state of Emergency in effect, the city is effectively crippled.

Editor's note: Journalist Newley Purnell is another excellent source for ongoing updates. He's in Bangkok now. I've been following him on Twitter.

And here are two Twitter users in Thailand right now who, as I understand it, are Canadian citizens stuck in Bangkok—both sending regular and vivid updates: @markmackinnon, @legalnomads (via @markaci)