Shutdown Bangkok, Restart Thailand

Normally the 2nd week of January sees me getting ready to cover the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam but a few days out from the tournament a change of plans meant I had a totally different assignment in Bangkok. Personally for me it was a welcome change, it had been some time since I last covered something in the field that wasn’t of the sporting variety.

‘Shutdown Bangkok, restart Thailand’ was the motto used by Anti Thai Government protestors from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). Protesters closed key intersections in Bangkok, as part of an effort to shut down the city and pressure prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban of the PDRC had setup Rally Stages at 20 major intersections to disrupt the work of government officials attempting to ‘Paralyse Bangkok’.
The rallies grew to include thousands of people at some points. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra responded by dissolving the House and declaring a state of Emergency on the 21st of January.

While for the most part protests were peaceful, at times it even had a festival feel to it with markets & entertainment, a state of emergency was declared due to increasing attacks at protest sites.These included grenade attacks and drive-by shootings.

On the 19th of January at the Victory Monument site, 28 people were wounded when two grenades were thrown.

Another grenade attack on a protest march on the 19th of January killed one man and reportedly injured 30.
Yingluck called a snap election for February 2 in an attempt to end the crisis that was prompted by a failed attempt in September to introduce an amnesty bill in parliament that would have allowed her brother Thaksin Shinawatra to return from exile without having to serve a two year jail sentence for corruption.

- Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Anti-Government protesters march in an attempt to shutdown the Government Savings Bank

Anti-Government protesters march in an attempt to shutdown the Government Savings Bank

An Anti-Thai Government protestor poses for a photo as a man walks past using his smart phone. The PDRC supporters have been actively using social media networks and smart phones as a method of communication throughout the Shutdown Bangkok protests.

An Anti-Thai Government protestor poses for a photo as a man walks past using his smart phone. The PDRC supporters have been actively using social media networks and smart phones as a method of communication throughout the Shutdown Bangkok protests.

An unarmed Army officer takes a photo of a office worker posing with an Army officer in front of Sandbags positioned at one of the Skyrail stations in Bangkok.

An unarmed Army officer takes a photo of a office worker posing with an Army officer in front of Sandbags positioned at one of the Skyrail stations in Bangkok.

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Thai government protestors (PDRC) wave the Thai Flag at Victory Monument, one of the many protest sites spread throughout Bangkok.

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Thai government protestors (PDRC) raise their arms in support during a rally at the Victory Monument.

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

A group of anti-government protestors in an abandoned apartment complex look out for a suspect whom threw an explosive device injuring 30 people during an anti-government street rally on January 17, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

An Anti-Government protester about to exit a window allegedly housing the suspect who threw an explosive device injuring 30 people during an anti-government street rally on January 17, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Government protestors guard a door of the alledged suspect who threw an explosive device injuring 30 people during an anti-government street rally on January 17, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

A Anti-Government protestor makes a gesture to the crowd from the roof of the apartment of a suspect who threw an explosive device injuring 30 people during an anti-government street rally on January 17, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Government protestors search a room for arms in a room that was housing the suspect whom threw an explosive device injuring 30 people during an anti-government street rally on January 17, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

An Army officer inspects the point of impact of a Grenade attack near the Victory Monument protest site.

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

An Anti-Government security guard holds up a ripped T-Shirt as a result of the grenade attack near a street side vendor in the vicinity of the Victory Monument rally site .The grenade attack reportedly injured 28 people at the protest site at the Victory Monument in Bangkok Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Government protester security guards run in search for the attacker who used a grenade.The grenade attack reportedly injured 28 people at the protest site at the Victory Monument in Bangkok Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

A women makes a peace sign with her hands as she rides a truck driving towards the Government savings bank in an attempt to shutdown the Government Savings Bank in Bangkok Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Government Protestors cheer and blow whistles at the Royal Thai Police Head quarters in response to an explosive device reportedly injuring as many as 30 people and killing one the previous day during an anti-government street rally in Bangkok, Thailand

Antigovernment Protesters Shut Down Bangkok

Anti-Government supporters lock arms at the front of the Government Savings Bank in an attempt to shut the bank down in Bangkok Thailand.

A full slideshow of the full photo essay can be viewed on my website by clicking the link below

http://abrfoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-slideshow/G0000_RzuVVvUPhw/C0000B5ovC3I8eXw?start=

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