Today’s photo of the day comes from my trip to Thailand in 2009, when I went behind the protest lines and got to know the Red Shirts in their Bangkok encampment.

Behind the lines with the Red Shirts of Bangkok, Thailand
Behind the lines with the Red Shirts of Bangkok, Thailand

“…our plans changed when our cab approached a traffic jam caused by an angry mob facing down an army blockade with a public bus burning behind the line of soldiers.

From what we gathered, the Red Shirts had set the bus on fire to form their own blockade against the oncoming army, but as a result the army had to stop all traffic from going by. This caused the motorists to become quite angry and as we got out of the cab and joined the scores of onlookers on the sidewalk tensions seemed to mount.”

…skipping a little here. read it all at Civil Unrest and Meeting the Red Shirts

“My time as an adrenalin junkie was short lived, however, as a few minutes later the army decided they had had enough and opened up the barricade to the motorists.

57 - Getting as close to the army as possible to take photos of the Red Shirt protests

Naturally, we wanted to see more so we followed the cars past the burning bus and walked around until a rickshaw driver offered to take us to the Red Shirt encampment area.
Smiles and open arms were all that greeted us when we reached the home base of the Red Shirt resistance. Everywhere we went people wanted me to take their photos and were hopeful that we were with a news agency so they could tell their story. The encampment itself was extremely organized and well stocked.

Booths were set up with free water, food, tarps to sit or sleep on and more. It doesn’t hurt that the ousted PM is a billionaire and is self-financing his own revolution. I even had my toe, which I banged up earlier in the day, cleaned and wrapped by the super-friendly, and free, first aid staff.”

keep on reading

…or enjoy the unedited photos from that day…

Battle between motorists and the armySmashing flower poits to get a response from the armyThe Thai army stands strong against the protestorsThe staredown between the Thai army and motorists continuesPeople came up to the army to try and antagonize them into violenceMore Thais join in trying to antagonize the army.Victory, as the Army decides to let the motorists passA motorcycle rider gets past the blockadeA father and daughter watch the events unfoldA father waves goodbye to the army after the blockade broke upThe army walks away rather than let the situation escalate to violenceWaving the Red Shirt flagThe remains  of the protestA burned out bus blocks trafficA man directs traffic past the former blockade zoneThe inside of one of the Bangkok city busses burned by the Red Shirt protestorsFires in the streetsThe streets of Bangkok burn as a Red Shirt protestor waves a flag in victorySo many of the Red Shirt protestors were just normal families who wanted to be a part of somethingA Red Shirt man and child ready to put out any firesRed shirt protestorsRed shirt protestors 2Red shirt protestorMany Red  Shirt protestors held signs like thisRed Shirts SignRed shirt artRed shirt political signA woman ready to spend the night to fight for her beliefsTaking a nap on the side of the streetRed Shirt protestors wait in front of the UN offices while the smoke from a burning bus rises in the distanceA man ready for tear gasRed shirt protestors sitting around waiting for instructions or for something to happenA group of Red Shirt protestorsRed shirt protestors come in all agesRed Shirt protestors group shotA burned out bus blocks the army from entering the front linesA bus waiting to be burned by the Red Shirts outside the UN offices in BangkokThis man was responsible for making a supply of molotov cocktailsMolotov cocktails ready to throwThe front line of the Red Shirt rebellion, ready to be tear gassed to fight for their causeA Red Shirt makes a molotov cocktailMolotov cocktails ready to be thrown to start bus fires at the Red Shirt rally in BangkokThumbs up from everyone at the Red Shirt rallyRed shirt political sign 2Red shirt political sign 3Red shirt political sign 4When not protesting, the Red Shirts all attended frequent rallies in the encampment zoneRed shirts at a rally inside the encampment zoneFamilies of Red Shirt protestors prepare to spend the night at the encampment areaA red shirt  rally in BangkokAll of this bottled water was free at the Red Shirt rallyRed shirts sitting in the street waiting for directionA little boy befriends Thai soldiers the day after the Red Shirt protest endedThai soldiers holding down a barackadeThai soldiers collect bottled water the day after the Red Shirt protest endedThai soldiers ready for anythingThai soldiers getting ready to move out to keep the peaceAfter the protest ended, smart business people scavenged the leftover water to sell at their shopsA Thai soldier cooling off during a hot day of keeping the peaceThe next shift of Thai soldiers comes in to keep up a blockadeThai soldiers marchingThe Thai soldier blockade. Behind them is where all the action took place

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