Thailand is often thought of in the West as a tropical paradise and a holiday destination, indeed, it is sometimes referred to as ‘The Land of Smiles’. In practice however, Thailand – a deeply conservative nation holding its monarchy in great esteem – is a country beset by security problems and very deep internal political divisions.
Between 2005 and 2014 supporters of rival political parties distinguished by their brightly coloured shirts, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD/Yellow Shirts)and the National United Front for Democracy (UDD/Red Shirts), several times took to the streets in huge numbers, paralysing Bangkok for weeks or months. The Red Shirt/Yellow Shirt protests often turned extremely violent with pitched battles fought in the streets against the security forces in a seemingly endless cycle of political corruption, nepotism, disputed elections, mass protest and military coups.
Red Shirt/Yellow Shirt provides a detailed account of the political crises of 2005–2014, the protest groups and the security response to these events, culminating in the seizure of power in 2014 by General Prayuth Chan O-Cha in a military coup d’état when the civilian political parties proved unable to reach a compromise on governing the country. Red Shirt/Yellow Shirt also examines the internal and external security issues facing Thailand in the twenty-first century, with a detailed overview of the structure, equipment, role, and responsibilities of the Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Police and the internal security apparatus.
Red Shirt/Yellow Shirt is illustrated with a rich selection of authentic photographs, many taken by the author, and includes specially commissioned colour artworks.