Fighting between anti-government red shirts and the Thai military yesterday ended up killing one Japanese journalist and 24 Thais – 19 red shirt protesters and five soldiers. Prime Minister Abhisist Vejjajiva was on Thai TV last night saying he was “sorry” the deaths had happened but, as the red shirt protesters were ‘terrorists’ it appeared he seemed to think they got what they deserved.
The Japanese government meanwhile has announced it will be having a meeting with representatives of the Thai government to express its displeasure at this violence that culminated in the death of one of its citizens.
It is also expected Japan will warn its citizens about traveling to Thailand until this round of violence looks like its the last.
The fighting began last night after the Thai military and police attempted to disperse Thai red shirt protesters at the Phan Fha Bridge in Bangkok. Red shirt protesters had no intentions of being moved, pushing and shoving ensued, followed by shots being fired (nobody knows from where at the moment) and, minutes later, 25 people lay dead.
The government is now ‘looking into it’ but as they will likely refuse to use a private investigatory body, it’s doubtful their conclusions will be unbiased.
The red shirt protesters however are blaming the government saying live rounds were fired into the crowd, which caused them to retaliate.
For tourists coming to Thailand, the message remains the same. Stay away from any area with red shirt protest sites set up. This is the first violence in Bangkok during the latest round of political demonstrations. It’s unlikely it will be the last.