20 May 10
Photographer Anders Birger was in Bangkok at the beginning of March when the brewing unrest took on a new urgency. Birger followed the Red Shirt protestors, who were demonstrating in support of the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, joining them for a large demonstration on 14 March. Members of the Red Shirts donated their blood to the cause, which was thrown at the government headquarters, in an attempt to “curse” it. The situation has of course become critical since then, including a particularly violent attack on the Red Shirts by government soldiers in which three journalists were killed, including Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi.
Yesterday, the leader of the Red Shirts, Jatuporn Prompan, stood on a stage in front of his demonstrators and urged them to return home peacefully. After 68 days of protest, during which time more than one person a day was killed, he conceded, “Though the fight didn’t reach our goal, we tried our best. Go home. We are sorry for not sending you home earlier. Go home safe.”