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    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    The revolution shall be tweeted


    Bangkok - Once more, I'm in Bangkok, and once more The Globe and Mail has done me the favour of assembling a collection of some of what I posted before and during the Thai government's military crackdown on the Red Shirt protesters.

    In case you missed them, here they are. As I mentioned in another article for The Globe, Twitter played an unprecedented role in the Thailand turmoil.

    On the downside, it was a propaganda outlet for both sides and served to amplify the hatred and prejudice that exist in Thai society, arguably helping push the situation towards its bloody conclusion.

    But it allowed hosted some top-notch reporting and, more importantly, allowed Bangkok residents to warn each other about what was happening in their neighbourhoods. In at least two occasions, one of which I was involved in inside the supposed sanctuary of the Wat Pathum temple, Twitter may have helped saved lives.

    Here's how it went down (note these are not all my tweets from this period, but a selection chosen by editors at The Globe and Mail):

    May 18, 2010

    * 12:29 p.m. Thai media reporting govt has rejected Red ceasefire offer.

    * 12:31 p.m. Bad news for peace fans - Thai government has extended "holiday" for rest of the week.

    * 2:22 p.m. What blockade? Piles of fresh vegetables arrived today in Bangkok Red Shirt camp

    * 3:06 p.m. Amnesty International slams Thailand's "reckless use of lethal force" against "unarmed people who posed no threat whatsoever".

    * 4:29 p.m. Question of the Day: if Red uprising is about equality, why is there a VIP toilet? #thailand

    * 6:41 p.m. East Bangkok, far from the Red Stage, supporters gather to watch latest speeches

    * 11:39 p.m. Series of bangs heard from direction of Rama IV road, scene of much fighting in recent days. #thailand

    * 11:41 p.m. Thai media reporting "strong rumours" of dawn crackdown in Bangkok standoff.

    May 19, 2010

    * 12:05 a.m. I should add to last tweet that if I had a baht for every crackdown rumour I've heard in recent weeks I could buy land in Rajprasong.

    * 1:38 a.m. Thailand's tourism minister says number of arrivals at Bangkok airport has fallen from 30,000 to 20,000 a day because of crisis.

    * 2:46 a.m. Another explosion in the distance. By now, I should have function key that types that sentence. #thailand

    * 8:02 a.m. Breaking: Soldiers, armoured personnel carriers seen advancing towards main Red Shirt protest in Bangkok. Much gunfire.

    * 9:07 a.m. New checkpoints sealing off military operation area. BBC's @aleithead says filmed Black Shirts firing back at soldiers.

    * 9:30 a.m. "Thai troops open fire on protesters" - http://tinyurl.com/2953utq

    * 9:59 a.m. Thai govt spokesman "we would like to reassure citizens of Bangkok... operations are designed to stabilize the area."

    * 10:03 a.m. Thick smoke rising from Lumphini Park.

    * 10:12 a.m. Thai govt spokesman says "operations designed to... provide security, safety to public at large." Will continue all day.

    * 10:15 a.m.
    Thai Red Cross calling for urgent blood donations.

    * 10:19 a.m. Thai media reporting military now controls Lumphini Park area. Red Cross calling for urgent blood donations.

    * 10:43 a.m. Now at Chulalongkorn hospital. Heavy gunfire. Helicopters overhead

    * 10:48 a.m. Thai troops advancing near Lumphini Park.

    * 11:28 a.m. Closing in on Red stage at protest centre. As soldiers advance, Reds still defiantly sitting on ground, playing music. about 9 hours ago

    * 11:29 a.m. Approaching Red stage. As army advances, Reds still defiantly sitting on ground, playing music. #thailand about 9 hours ago

    * 11:34 a.m. Doctors and nurses prepare to receive casualties at Police Hospital in centre of Bangkok protest site.

    * 11:48 a.m. At police hospital, 13 injured, six from gunshot wound. One dead, a foreign journalist killed at Sala Daeng.

    * 11:55 a.m. Police Hospital adjacent to main protest stage says 13 injured so far, six from gunshot. One dead, a foreign journalist.

    * 11:55 a.m. Hundreds of Red protesters gather at main stage as battle rages a few hundred metres south.

    * 12:07 p.m. Praise my lovely wife who made me a medical kit with everything in. I just dressed a colleague's bullet wound. Shot in leg. All safe now.

    * 12:08 p.m. Four dead, 50 injured across Bangkok in crackdown today, Thai media reporting.

    * 12:27 p.m. Soldiers allowing Red Shirts to exit camp if they come forward with hands raised. Lt Col I talked to on way in said 10 surrendered to him.

    * 12:33 p.m. Smoke rising from two locations north of main Red camp in central Bangkok. Din Daeng and one other area.

    * 12:39 p.m. No Red leaders behind main stage when I visited. Reports some surrendering to police. Still thousands of protesters at main site.

    * 12:58 p.m. Thai TV reporting that Red Shirts have occupied Bangkok's Century Park hotel. Years ago, in other Thailand, my cousin got married there...

    * 1:25 p.m. Chidlom BTS station burning. Red shirts on tracks. Heavy explosions and gunfire.

    * 1:31 p.m. Fire at Bangkok's Chidlom skytrain station. Heavy gunfire.

    * 1:34 p.m. Al-Jazeera reporting Red Shirts stormed town hall in north Thailand. Could this spread?

    * 1:52 p.m. Getting a bit dangerous now around Chidlom

    * 1:56 p.m. Reuters reporting Canadian journalist injured in Bangkok clashes.

    * 2:01 p.m. Massive fire now at Chidlom BTS. Something else burning besides tires.

    * 2:33 p.m. As Red leaders surrender, hard-core elements reported to declare independence. Fighting coninues around Bangkok.

    * 2:34 p.m. Canadian Embassy says avoid all travel to Bangkok, avoid non-essential travel to Thailand.

    * 2:35 p.m. Thai military to impose curfew on Bangkok tonight.

    * 2:36 p.m. Smoke rising from near Central World shopping mall in Bangkok. Reports that protesters tried to set it on fire.

    * 3:05 p.m. Almost deserted. Rajprasong main Red stage. Now.

    * 3:12 p.m. Rajprasong main red stage. Deserted. No sign of soldiers.
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    * 3:43 p.m. In Wat Patum Wanaram, with hundreds of civilians. All just ran deeper into temple area because of nearby gunfire.

    * 3:45 p.m. Hundreds of civilians begginf for UN to protect Buddhist temple in middle of site.

    * 3:51 p.m. Smoke rises from fire behind Buddhist temple sanctuary for civilians caught in Bangkok fighting.

    * 3:59 p.m. Thais in temple offering us water and a place to sit. "We're only kind to foreigners, not to each other," woman says.

    * 4:00 p.m. Gunfire, explosions close to temple where unarmed Red Shirts have taken sanctuary.

    * 4:01 p.m. Colleague say "Black Shirts" with rifles battling soldiers outside temple.

    * 4:31 p.m. Ambulance attendees take cover in alley outside Wat Patum,

    * 5:17 p.m. Red Shirts gather abandoned food in anticipation of long stay in Wat Patum temple.

    * 5:19 p.m. Smoke rises from Bangkok's burning Central World shopping mall.

    * 5:37 p.m. Thais in temple begging me to take them out. "You can go, right? Take me!" Also "Is the UN coming?"

    * 5:50 p.m. Sustained gunfire outside temple serving as sanctuary in middle of Bangkok. People moving further away from entrance.

    * 5:56 p.m. More shooting, explosions outside Wat Patum.

    * 6:03 p.m. Inside Wat Patum as firefight rages outside.

    * 6:06 p.m. Firefight outside temple escalating. Hundreds of people still sheltering inside.

    * 6:08 p.m. Air smells of fire. Twenty buildings around city said to be in fire, including Central World.

    * 6:10 p.m. At least one person inside temple has bullet wound. No idea what happened. Gunfire escalating.

    * 6:27 p.m. Fighting rages all around temple. Tear gas in the air. At least three shot, either inside or just outside sanctuary.

    * 7:44 p.m. At least five wounded around me at makeshift medical centre in park behind Wat Patum temple, one a friend and colleague.. gunfire continuesm

    * 7:54 p.m. Somehow we're the only corros left in temple. People around us terified. Red Cross can't get ambulance in to injured because of gunfire.

    * 8:27 p.m. Medics around me say 7 dead 10 injured inside Wat Patum temple, which was supposed to be sanctuary. I'd guess 1500 to 2000 terrified ppl

    * 8:49 p.m. Please RT. People around me are dying because they can't get to hospital across the road because of fighting

    * 8:51 p.m. More people will die inside Wat Patum unless we get ceasefire to get to hospital across the road.

    * 10:15 p.m. Wounded in ambulance leaving Wat Patum. Ceasefire negotiated to let wounded leave.

    6 comments:

    Khaosod Newspaper said...

    I am journalist of Khaosod Newspaper, Thailand. My name is Chumchan Chamniprasart - email : kim@matichon.co.th I would like to interview you about the bloodshed situation in Wat Patumwanaram, Bangkok. Is it possible to interview you by email?

    Anonymous said...

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    Anonymous said...

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