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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20, 2006-Bangkok Coup

Tank Barracade

It’s not Tiananmen Square, but tanks are rolling in Bangkok. It happened last night and today the military are in control of the government.

I don’t think my sister is going to believe me when I say it is safe to come for a visit.

But we’re not worried; we’ve been through coups before.

Photo Opp


In 2000 we were in Fiji when the whole Parliament was held hostage for 52 days and rebels blocked roads all over the country and local gunmen terrorized Expat plantation owners.

Things in the marina in Savu Savu where we were staying then seemed calm, however, I remember walking past the police station and noticing out of the corner of my eye that all the policemen in the station were standing with their hands up, about 10 feet from the sidewalk where I was walking, at gunpoint. I realized that I was only 10 feet from a hostage situation. I kept walking and next time I crossed the street before I got to the police station.

In Thailand the TV stations are all broadcasting speeches from the coup leaders and the Satellite is offline. A holiday was announced and all of our offices were closed.

Helmets

I went out to see for myself. At first I saw nothing other than a lack of traffic on the streets. Then I turned a corner and walked into a tank barricade. I had my camera in my backpack and I ducked into an alley to dig it out in a less conspicuous location, only to walk straight into a pair of soldiers with automatic weapons coming out the back door of a restaurant. They didn’t seem to mind the camera, and I walked past and started taking pictures, moving closer to the tanks. No one seemed to pay attention, but I was thinking about a comment I read online that morning about a newsman who was bundled into a van for getting too close.

Soldier

Close Enough


Finally some guys turned to look at me and I decided it was time to go. I hopped on the back of a motor bike and sped off.

No bullets whizzed by my ears.

So Sis, it’s quite safe, come on over.

Fred & Judy, Bangkok

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