Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Rebel Camp

So the International Crisis Group says Bangkok is on the brink of an “undeclared civil war,” but the opposition Red Shirt camp in the middle of town seems more like a festive bazaar than the epicenter of a movement. Street vendors are hawking fatty fried stuff on sticks, festoons of flowers, and tee shirts (almost exclusively red), which swing in the breeze from makeshift stalls. A weary crowd sits on the blockaded street in front of a mainstage with loudspeakers as though it were any old summer folk festival. At least that was the vibe on Friday when we strolled through it. People were friendly. They wanted their picture taken.

The last outbreak of violence had been two days before, when protesters blocked train tracks. A police officer shot another police officer by accident in a skirmish over it. Taxi drivers are mad at the Red Shirts – at least the few that we spoke to. I think drivers are universally against any movement that blocks traffic.

The barricades of tires and sharpened bamboo are intimidating, but also strangely artistic, like post-apocalyptic setpieces for a budget science fiction flick. In any case, it just doesn’t feel like a place that’s about to erupt.

Then again, I’m really no seismologist.


Blogger crobl005 said...

5:07 PM  

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