An Oral History of the Red Shirt Protests

Ten years ago, today, a bloody crackdown by the government ended the Red Shirt protest that had blockaded downtown Bangkok for weeks.

Armored vehicles, soldiers and security officials ended the months-long protest with rapid efficiency resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians and parts of the city engulfed in flames.

The crackdown was the result of a simmering political divide that began with a military coup that overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 and culminated with the crackdown.

The following report is an attempt to better understand what happened on the ground during those fateful days in April and May as told by the people who participated, led and observed the events.

We interviewed as many relevant people as we could but many who were involved in the events were not ready to comment. Attempts to reach Khun Suthep Thaugsuban and Generals Prawit Wongsuwan, Prayut Chan-ocha and Anupong Paochinda were rebuffed or calls were not returned.

Due to its length and our intention to be as thorough as possible, we have split the report into four parts. We have also included several sidebars and editorials to accompany the main story.

We thank you for taking the time to read our special report.

An oral history in four parts:

Part 2: Momentum Gathers and a Clash at Khok Wua

Editorials from the newsroom:

“The violence of April and May 2010 remains senseless ten years later” by Cod Satrusayang.

“On Forgetting April and May of 2010” by Jasmine Chia

“Justice only belongs to the powerful” by Pear Maneechote

“Never again, never, again” by Erich Parpart

“Unforgetting and confronting the truth of state-sanctioned violence” by James Wilson

Retrospectives:

Video Recap of Red Shirt Protest:

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