Thailand’s Reds and Yellows by Vinai Dithajohn

1 – 10 November 2019

Introduction: This photo essay tells the story of the Thai political crisis from 2005 to 2014, a conflict between 2 political groups the red-shirts and the yellow-shirts. The red-shirts began ass supported by deposed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted by a military coup in September 2006. Thaksin was very popular among the rural farmers and urban working class because he initiated policies that benefited them, such as funding for health-care and education.

In 2005, A citizens’ movement against Thaksin, called People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) or “Yellow Shirts” its membership consisted mainly of ultra-royalist middle-class and working-class Bangkok residents and anti-Thaksin Southerners, supported by some factions of the Thai Army, some leaders of Democrat Party, and the members of the state-enterprise labor unions. The yellow-shirts launched mass protests against the government of Thaksin, accusing him of corruption, insulting the monarchy.

Meanwhile, the group of supporters of Thaksin came out to show the power and pro-democracy. There was unrest in Bangkok, the Thai military supported the yellow-shirts secretly behind and then making the coup on 19 September 2006.

There were many anti-coup groups formed following the coup on 19 September 2006, the famous group is the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or the red-shirts formed to protest the coup and military government, the movement has since expanded to included various groups with diverse political priorities. Its members range from Left-wing and/or liberal activists and academics to a large number of Thaksin’s rural and working-class supporters.

The red-shirts were made several times protesting in Bangkok. the highlight was on 2010 the violence shocked the city – but the red-shirts consolidated their forces in one camp, closing down the city’s commercial heart for several more weeks until on 19 May 2010 armed government troops moved into the red-shirt camp, smashing through barricades. By the end of the day, the camp had been cleared, several of the group’s leaders arrested and dozens of people, including protesters and soldiers, killed resulted 1,283 people were injured and 94 people died.

After that, there have been no rallies from various political groups for a while until in 2013 a new round of political crisis occurred. There are political groups wishing to eliminate the influence of Thaksin, who is fleeing abroad. A younger sister named Yingluck Shinawatra being elected Prime Minister in 2011.
In August 2013, there was a long-standing rebellion in Bangkok, with soldiers backing. Until the incident occurred and led to the coup on May 22, 2014.


Vinai Dithajohn

이 포토 에세이는 2005~2014년 동안 태국 내 레드 셔츠와 옐로우 셔츠 두 정치 세력이 서로 충돌했던 정치 위기 상황을 다룬다. 레드 셔츠는 2006년 9월 군사 쿠데타로 실각한 전 총리 탁신 친나왓의 지지 하에 시작됐다. 탁신은 의료보험 투자 및 교육 등을 약속함으로써 지역 농민들과 도심 노동자들로부터 열렬한 지지를 받았다.

2005년 국민민주주의연대(PAD), 또는 ‘엘로우 셔츠’라는 반탁신 세력이 일어났다. 옐로우 셔츠 멤버로는 극왕정주의 중산층 및 노동층, 방콕 주민, 반탁신주의 남부 시민들, 태국군 내 세력,

일부 민주당 지도자, 그리고 국영 노조원 등이 있었다. 옐로 셔츠는 탁신 정부에 반발하는 시위를 벌여 부패 의혹, 군주제 모독 등을 이유로 비판했다.

반면 탁신 지지자들은 그를 옹호하고 민주주의를 주창했다. 방콕은 조용할 날이 없었고 그 배후에는 태국군의 지지를 받는 옐로우 셔츠 세력이 있었다. 그러다 2006년 9월 19일, 쿠데타가 발발했다. 이후 여러 반쿠데타 세력이 생겨났는데 가장 유명한 것이 독재저항민주연합전선(UDD), 혹은 ‘레드 셔츠’였다. 반쿠데타, 반정부 레드 셔츠는 다양한 정치 세력과 힘을 합해 규모를 키워나갔다. 레드 셔츠 멤버로는 좌파 진영과 자유민주주의 운동가, 학자들, 탁신을 지지하던 지역민 및 노동자들이 있었다.

레드 셔츠는 여러 번 방콕에서 시위를 벌였는데, 그러다 2010년에 발생한 폭력이 사람들을 놀라게 했다. 하지만 레드 셔츠는 도시의 상업 중심지에 세운 캠프에서 여러 주 동안 재정비 과정을 거쳤다. 그리고 2010년 5월 19일, 무장한 정부 병력이 바리케이드를 부수고 캠프에 들이닥쳤다. 저녁 무렵 캠프는 정리되었고 여러 지도자와 수십 명의 시위자 및 군인들이 체포됐다. 94명의 사람이 죽었고 1,283명이 다쳤다. 

그 이후 한동안 정치 세력 간의 분쟁이 없었다가 2013년 새로운 정치 위기가 닥쳤다. 이들은 해외로 피신하는 탁신의 영향력을 제거하고자 하는 세력이었다. 2011년 그의 여동생 잉락 친나왓이 총리로 선출됐다.

2013년 8월 방콕에는 군인의 지원을 받는 오래된 저항 세력이 있었고, 2014년 5월 22일 사건이 발발하면서 쿠데타가 일어났다.

About The Artist: Vinai Dithajohn is a Bangkok-based photojournalist covering news and documentary stories in Thailand and Southeast Asia for the past ten years. He is a former contributor to the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), his work has been published in Time Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, GQ Magazine Thailand and National Geographic Magazine Netherlands and Thailand.
Vinai is a two-time award winner in the FCCT (The Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand) Regional Photo Contest, placing second for Feature Photo in 2008 and winning Photo of the Year Award in 2007.
In 2002 his photo essay on Sea gypsies was awarded first prize National Geographic Thailand photo contest. Self-thought and then studied more with internationally acclaimed photographers James Nachtwey and David Alan Harvey in their 2007 Bangkok workshop and at a World Press photojournalist workshop held in Jakarta on 2002.
Since 2004, Vinai has worked throughout the region on assignments with Greenpeace Southeast Asia covering climate change, water pollution and documenting the crew of the Rainbow Warrior II flagship during an anti-coal campaign at the Philippines and Thailand in 2008. He has also taught photography to children in the InSIGHT Out! project in the tsunami-affected area of Thailand.

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