The government crackdown against the red-shirt protestors began early. As the sun rose over Bangkok in the streets around the fortified red-shirt camp were abuzz with Thai army troop trucks, armored personnel carriers (APCs), and medical workers preparing and checking their kit. Inside the barricade the mood was tense. Atop surrounding high-rise figures dressed in military fatigues could be clearly seen Helicopters flew overhead.
As protestors evacuated the Lumpini Park camp ground and moved towards the stage, the first known-of shot was fired, felling a protestor less than 50 meters from this correspondent. As his comrades raced towards him, they too came under fire, one being hit. A would-be rescuer who mounted a second attempt, concealed behind a table, also came under fire, forcing him to abandon his attempt.
With the barricade ablaze army troops preceded by APCs breached the barricade wall, the soldiers firing at waist-height as they advanced, protestors fleeing and seeking refuge from the automatic weapon fire. The promise to detonate explosive charges that had been placed in the barricade wall never occurring.
As Thai army and Thai air force special forces advanced towards the main stage, protest organisers hastily urged their supporters to the nearby Wat Pathumwanaram temple. Previously declared a safety zone, as nighttime fell it became a killing field, with Thai army riflemen seen and photographed on the overhead BTS skytrain train line, shooting into the temple.
Bangkok red-shirt protest crackdown May 19, 2010 photo slide gallery
Photos John Le Fevre
- Bangkok red-shirt protest crackdown May 20, 2010 photo special (gallery)
- Bangkok red-shirt protest May 2010 photo special (galleries)
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me
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