Red-shirt rally’s getting nastier, more personal


Offensive books, posters commonplace

The protest might be about ousting the government but evidence of continued social division, resentment and even disturbing hatred against ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s political enemies could be observed at the red-shirt rally at Government House yesterday.

The protesters, affiliated with the pro-Thaksin Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship, credited the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) for paving the way for the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s rise to power.

Books condemning the PAD – with titles such as “Evil Deeds of the PAD” – are widely available. Common too are signs and posters attacking and ridiculing the PAD leaders.

One poster shows a picture of PAD speaker Suriyasai Katasila with abusive words calling him names and adding, “This is a man who turns black into white and white into black,” a reference to the perceived truth and falsity propagated by the PAD.

Leaflets containing a lengthy list of companies allegedly sponsoring the PAD during its 19-month marathon protest, which saw a military coup and the ouster of Thaksin Shinawatra and later the downfall of two premiers regarded as his proxies, were also being distributed.

“Please pass it on,” said the male distributor sitting under a tent, which gave some relief from the scorching summer sun outside Government House.

“Take only one each and have it photocopied and distribute it widely,” he said.

The list includes not just the names of companies but also those of musicians, actors and artists who have graced the PAD stage.

“Stop buying or watching their shows,” the pamphlet urged.

Much more disturbing was an exhibition of four pictures put up by the same man and showing near-naked pictures of the body of “Nong Bo”, Angkana Radabpanyawut, a female PAD member who died last October during the PAD’s major protest at Parliament, which ended in bloody clashes with the police.

The pictures show the woman’s body lying on an autopsy bed, with stickers attached to the photos to cover her private parts. However, the controversial wounds to the left side of her chest and an arm are visible.

The PAD insist she was killed by the police, while the red-shirt group argue it was some sort of home-made grenade she was carrying that night which exploded and took her life.

The caption reads: “See the truth for yourself. This picture is not doctored. Is it tear gas, or a grenade she carried?”

Many red-shirt protesters were glued to the macabre pictures after a woman burst into a tirade against Nong Bo.

By The Nation
Published on March 28, 2009


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