On the Scene – Udon Thani Burning
Wednesday afternoon I was sat outside the Irish Clock Bar in Sampantamit Road, Udon Thani. Seven hours later I had a coach to board to Suvarnabhumi Airport as I once again bade farewell to Wonderful Wi and Thailand. My holiday was near its end and I was due to return to the UK.
At the time I was unaware some of the red shirt leaders in Bangkok had surrendered to police and called an end to the UDD protests in Ratchaprasong. Shortly after those events trouble kicked off in Udon Thani city big time. Word filtered through to the ex pats in the Irish Clock that something big was occurring in the city and so I hired a samlor (taxi) to take a closer look at the action, wherever it might be. A samlor driver always has his ear to the ground and mine knew exactly where to go.
We headed to Thungsi Muang Park where a large group of red shirt protesters, supporters and onlookers had gathered. In the top photo thick black smoke can be seen coming from the old City Hall building which protesters had earlier set alight. Our path to that was blocked as a gang of youths and young men set about destroying another government building opposite the park. The police were holding the traffic back and the army were already in attendance. Within one hour of me being there the crowd inside Thungsi Muang Park had swelled to about 3,000 people and most of them were in a very agitated mood. Here’s some more photos I took on that afternoon.
Youths throw rocks and stones at a government building.
The building was set alight and fire crews were quickly on the scene. During the two hours I was at Thungsi Muang Park the army sensibly patrolled the road but didn’t use any show of force towards protesters and onlookers.
Below are some more photos. Click on a photo to enlarge.
The above bottom middle photo proved rather ironic to me. It’s a picture taken on the grounds of a Chinese Shrine and City Pillar Shrine inside Thungsi Muang Park, it’s where most of the big crowd had gathered to look at the destruction before them. Beauty and anarchy just metres apart.
Time ran out for me as I had to prepare for my journey to Suvarnabhumi. This is the earliest chance I’ve had to publish the photos and that’s been done from back here in the UK. This one’s a bit of a rushed post as I’ve only been home just over two hours. I hope the photos cover the story. I was right in there….wow.