Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Protesting at Justice

Anti-government protestors block the entrance to the Ministry of Justice in the Bangkok suburbs Tuesday

Bangkok Shutdown is officially over. It ended several weeks ago while I was in Mae Sot. Suthep closed the various protest stages and asked the protestors to move to Lumpini Park, a vast greenspace in central Bangkok. They've been camped out in the park since March 3. (Literally camped out. They're sleeping in tents and getting food from field kitchens.) 

I haven't been covering the remnants of Shutdown much because there wasn't much movement on the story. The protestors were unable to dislodge the government and the government not willing to dislodge the protestors. I've been working on stories related to climate change and the environment. 

This weekend I covered a Red Shirt rally in Thonburi, so in the interest of equal time, and to see what the anti-government side was up to, I covered a PDRC rally yesterday. I went to Lumpini Park and then hitched a ride to the protest site on a food truck. The protestors motorcaded out to the Ministry of Justice, in the government complex at Chaeng Wattana, about 20 kilometers from central Bangkok. 
A protestor waves the Thai flag in front of the Ministry of Justice

The rolling protests have become sort of routine. Protestors load up in buses and pickup trucks and head out to the government ministry they're picketing that day. Legions of PDRC security guards on motorcycles zip around, blocking traffic so the motorcade can get across Bangkok unhindered. At the government office, protestors block the entrances, speakers make fiery anti-government speeches and a protest leader, usually Suthep but not always, meets with government workers to encourage them to support the protest movement. 
Suthep Thaugsuban (left), leader of the anti-government protests, meets with Kittipong Kittayark at the Ministry of Justice.

That was how things played out Tuesday. Protestors blocked the entrances to the building while Suthep met with Kittipong Kittayark, the Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Justice. After the meeting the protestors had a picnic lunch of chicken and basil. Then they loaded up in their trucks and buses and went back to Lumpini Park. 

There are more photos of Tuesday's protest in my archive or available from ZUMA Press

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