The Protesters´ Camp at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok

posted in: Thailand | 0

Protests and demonstrations against the incumbent, now caretaking government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been ongoing for weeks now and will continue. I abstain from trying to give a comprehensive or brief insight into Thai politics here. It is much too complicated, I do not understand enough about it and in the end this is just a travel and photography blog. But today I had a mission. And this was to bring peace to this country by just talking convincingly to the protesters!

The Democracy Monument in the heart of Bangkok is a must see landmark on any tourist sightseeing list. Frankly speaking, I never understood why, as I do not think it is very special or interesting. But it is here, where the protesters have set up their camp and where they have been resting for the past weeks.There are lots of warnings not to go near such places as you never know what happens next. A peaceful gathering of people can easily and unexpectedly turn into bad violence and clashes with the police.

I tried to get some more updated information about the current situation at the Democracy Monument before I decided to go there. But apart from those general warnings I could not find anything specific. So I thought the risk is controllable and I did not expect anything evil would happen to me.

I took a ferryboat to get to Khaosan Road, the backpacker district, which is nearby the monument. From there I walked along the Ratchadamnoen Klang Road. Usually this big boulevard is full of traffic, but today it was blocked. In the middle of the road there were lots of what looked like stalls to me, but at that time in the early afternoon, they all were covered up. And on the walkways street vendors tried to sell their stuff.

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When I approached the monument I wondered why I did not see any people. But after finally reaching the place a concert was going on and a huge crowd of audience was listening to it on the other side of the monument. And it was there where I finally found the protesters.

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Over a length of maybe 300 meters up until the end of the road big roofs have been spanned over the street to provide shadow and shelter against the rain. Under the roof a few hundred people were living on the ground – just sleeping, eating, reading or chatting with each other.

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Obviously a more or less complete infrastructure has been set up to serve the needs of the long time protesters including garbage bins, food stalls and vendors selling all sorts of symbols reflecting one´s political stand. From the ubiquitous loudspeakers a kind of Thai blues music was filling the air.

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All in all this was a very peaceful and interesting atmosphere that can seduce you to sympathise with those people.

At the end of the road sand bag barricades were built up.

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And there are lots of portraits of the neutral and highly respected and beloved King.

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The protesters themselves all seemed to be in a pretty joyful and very relaxed mood.

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One can only hope that the Thai society and those generally peaceful, friendly and smiling people will find a way to live together in more harmony. At the moment it does not really look too promising. The reason for this is simple: My peace efforts failed. The langauge barrier was just too strong :-)

Click the slide show above the post to see more images.

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