Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bangkok: Nick Nostitz's live-blog of Black Tuesday

Nick Nostitz, a contributor to New Mandala blog, has posted his remarkable live-blogging of the street protests of Tuesday October 7, 2008. Nick's observations are vivid; his photos, outstanding. This is how Nick introduces his material:
In this post I will try to describe what I saw, and how I felt about what was happening. I do not have any sense of an overview, and nor do I claim to. I was only there from 5.00 am to 11.00 pm . . .
In one passage Nick writes:
. . . maybe at around 10.00 am, I went to Metropolitan Police headquarters, just around the corner from the Royal Plaza. Just as I arrived, PAD staged an attack. They had thrown ping pong bomblets (maybe teargas) into the compound and at police. A barrage of iron balls and marbles were fired by slingshots. At one point a short burst of what I believe were bullets passed around me (the noise of the projectiles passing was very different from the slingshot projectiles). I hid behind a car, and was hit by a steel ball in the stomach . . .
At another point Nick describes standing near a "crossing" that "was under constant attack." He writes that "iron balls and marbles were fired from slingshots, and police repelled attacks by firing tear gas grenades." It is plainly evident from Nick's firsthand report that not only the police, but also PAD protesters were firing projectiles. In fact, Nick concludes the post by addressing this very issue:
There is now a discussion about excessive force by police, and of course the use of teargas. From what I saw, I believe that the police had no other choice. Blame it on the miserable police budget that they had no less lethal teargas grenades, but not on the police officers on the ground that day. Police had to do with what they had available and that, in this case, was only equipment from Russia.

Were the injuries caused by explosives carried by PAD? I honestly have no idea. I only know that some PAD protesters were throwing explosives.

In this showdown PAD has used lethal force and if the police did not use teargas then this situation would have degenerated to hand-to-hand combat. And that, I am sure, would have cost many people their lives, on both sides. PAD had a few handguns, one or two police officers have been stabbed by flag poles. So, one would not like to imagine what would have happened if there was not the distance between the sides created by the teargas grenades. I doubt that any police officer intended to maim anybody but this day was a day of very few choices.
Nick has made a remarkable contribution to the historical record of the events of so-called "Black Tuesday." I recommend you look at the whole post.

1 comment:

  1. has been blocked in Thailand.


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