Revolutions come in many forms. They all have their own shape and style.
The anti-government protest happening in Thailand at the moment is one of the more colourful revolutions I’ve been too. In Iran it was mostly black cloaks, turbans, chadors and dark suits. Most of the students at the protest in Tiananmen Square were wearing white shirts and grey trousers. The favourite colour in Central Africa seemed to be green or khaki. But the blockades around Bangkok are awash with the national colours of red, white and blue. Lanyards, flags, armbands, hats and even spectacles are saturated with these shades.
And then there’s the noise, yet another feature of revolution Bangkok-style. Whistles are definitely de rigueur; everyone has a whistle, the only requirement being that they are blown as frequently as possible. When the whistles are not being blown, speakers harangue the demonstrators or pop groups play loud but unfathomable music. This noise goes on throughout the day and night. Unfortunately there’s a blockade not more than five hundred yards from where I’m staying. But, of course, the upside to this proximity is ready access for the purpose of getting pictures of the event.
The blockades are located near overhead rail stations requiring pedestrians to push their way past both demonstrators and street vendors, who are doing a roaring trade in take away food and sales of the obligatory whistles.
The demonstrators themselves are occupied with blowing whistles, sleeping, eating and taking ‘selfies’ dressed in their colourful clothes or in t-shirts replete with slogans such as Shutdown Bangkok and Restart Thailand.
At this point in time it’s entertaining and amusing taking pictures of the protest. But it is, nonetheless, worth keeping in mind that during the two months of these demonstrations eight people have been killed and more than 477 have been injured. These events have a habit of turning nasty when you least expect it.