For the past couple of weeks, Our Man in Thailand has been warning that the US media has largely forgotten the Bangkok protests at its own peril.
"They are not winding down," he writes. "At least not yet." He accuses coverage in New York Times and other US publications of being slightly red-leaning (more on the side of the exiled oligarch Thaksin and his prime-minister sister Yingluck), which might be totally innocent, but leads them to minimize what's going on in the streets and the anti-government protest camps. Moreover, the issues are complicated and confusing—it's hard to analyze something that defies snappy description.
"The protests are louder, more carnival-like in their exuberance and goofy protest gear than I have seen yet," OMIT writes. "They are also much rougher-looking. Lots more camouflage, face masks, bullet-proof vests, and tough-looking country people are in the crowds."
Here is a picture I took today of bullet-proof vests on the ready at a protest checkpoint. The anti-government farmers are in town at last—they're streaming in the city after the news of Yingluck's indictment for a rice scheme—and they are tough. The pro-government police (as opposed to the anti-government military) is trying unsuccessfully to shut down the sites. Yesterday a grenade was lobbed at the cops and a cop was shot. There was a successful protest-led bank run in order to stymie the government yesterday as well.
As one CNN correspondent put it: "This is now turning into more of a gun fight than a protest."
Or, as OMIT puts it: "I don't see how this can end."