Every Tuesday For A Year at the Gates of Thai Government
In 2003, influential Thai photographer and artist Manit Sriwanichpoom published the book ‘Protest’, a photographic record of protests held every Tuesday from April 2002 to 2003 at the gates of the Thai Government.
From Manit’s introduction:
“The idea for the photos in Protest came about because I happened to drive past Government House around noon on 9 April, 2002.
That day there was a group of communities, or as politicians, police and reporters call them, a ‘mob’ (The word has a negative meaning: a group hired or conscripted to protest or riot. It doesn’t signify a protest by real people actually protesting their real suffering.) There were two groups that day – some enthusiastic supporters of Buddhism in Thailand and the labor union of Srinakorn Bank. They had taken over both sides of the footpath for their protest.
The area opposite from Government House was occupied by pious supporters of Buddhism in Thailand. There were about 100 monks and 1,000 nuns and faithful, many carrying posters calling for the government to pass the latest por-ror-bor.
On the side nearer Government House were ex-bank employees – men in white shirts and neckties and women in bank uniforms. They held the space with banners of protest, calling for a rescinding of the order to close the Srinakorn Bank, merging it with the Nakorn Luang Thai (Siam City) Bank.
In the midst of traffic jams, blazing heat and the sound of protestors screaming into microphones – so many protesters they overflowed into the street – I was intrigued and couldn’t help but ask myself, “What is happening in Thailand? Why are the monks not in the temple? Why must they come out to protest with the people?
I stopped my car, took my camera, and climbed down to record the event, with no idea of what I would do with the components of the situation.”
More from Manit Sriwanichpoom at www.kathmandu-bkk.com