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Thailand Gay Pride Festival Shut Down

photo5-chiangmai

On Saturday, a group of about 200 gay rights activists were celebrating Chiang Mai’s second gay pride festival when a group of 30 red-shirted demonstrators appeared with megaphones and shut down the event, dismantling the stage and blocking off Pride parade demonstrators from either exiting or leaving. Thai police had promised protection for the group, but did nothing, according to reports.

In an Op-Ed signed by “Milt” in The Nation, one demonstrator writes:

“With their sound system blaring, and their thugs gathered and menacing, they surrounded Buddha Satharn, a public space, where a few Chiang Mai citizens were preparing to stage Chiang Mai’s second Gay Pride Parade. They made it impossible for participants to either enter or leave the grounds. They shouted nonsense about gays not representing Lanna culture. Funny, but I didn’t know that threatening other Thais was representative of the good people of Lanna or their heritage. And they remained there shaking their signs and screaming their threats long after the parade was officially cancelled.

Of course, Chiang Mai’s police failed to do anything to see that the sanctioned parade went ahead despite telling organisers they would be out in force to prevent violence. “

While Asia Online has more substantive details:

“The move came after a group of 30 red-shirt protesters went to Tawan Trendy Mall, where a stage had been erected to welcome the Gay Pride Parade. The parade was scheduled to head from the Buddhasathan towards the Night Bazaar and to the mall.

The protesters launched verbal attacks through megaphones, saying the event tarnished the city’s reputation. They also reacted angrily to a remark by the organisers that the “Rak Chiang Mai 51″ group was acting like thugs.

The group vowed not to allow the event to take place in public. They confronted the organisers and dismantled the stage set up to welcome participants of the parade.

“We do not understand why the red-shirt group has to drag politics into our activities,” said Niwat.

Thai Youth Network coordinator Kullanant Padermwan-napong said the red-shirt movement has actually discouraged teenagers who want to work for society.

The youth group wants the protesters to apologise for their “uncivilised” action towards teenagers and other people who organised the event.”

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Feb 23, 2009
Tagged: , ,
  • 10 Comments
    • rob
      rob

      “Taiwanese police had promised protection for the group, but did nothing, according to reports.”

      um…don’t you mean Thai police? Taiwan is another separate country.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rob
      rob

      yay! you fixed it!

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      The protesters launched verbal attacks through megaphones, saying the event tarnished the city’s reputation.

      Uh…I think the massive problem of child prostitution–over 100,000 children forced to work as sex slaves–would be tarnishing Taiwan’s image, not a gay pride parade.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • earl trowbridge
      earl trowbridge

      Let’s first establish that this is Thailand not Taiwan for the geographically challenged. And let us also note that the red-shirts (the Rak Thai 51–means “2009 Love Thailand Group”) have tarnished the image of this city. Also please note that this same group demonstrated during a parade of a flower festival. Bullies and thugs are not good public relations. And, again, this is Thailand.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      Thailand really is a country experiencing great social and economic change. I have not been to Chang Mai, but I have been to Bangkok and Phucket (i.e. the Phi Phi islands pre-tsunami). It sometimes reminds me of the struggles here in the states. You have two extremes of people. Those holding on to the past and those ready to embrace the future and bring the nation into the new century.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      Thailand = Thai

      Taiwan aka Republic of China* (ROC) = Taiwanese

      They are about 1500 miles apart from one another.

      *not to be confused with People’s Republic of China (PRC) aka mainland China

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HYHYBT
      HYHYBT

      “either exiting or leaving?”

      Feb 24, 2009 at 2:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. MuellerYes, Your Majesty; No, Your Majesty. Tell us how low to go, Your Majesty; Make some more decrees, Your Majesty, Don't let us up off out knees, Your Majesty. Give us a kick, if you please Your Majesty Give us a kick, if you would, Your Ma
      Charles J. MuellerYes, Your Majesty; No, Your Majesty. Tell us how low to go, Your Majesty; Make some more decrees, Your Majesty, Don't let us up off out knees, Your Majesty. Give us a kick, if you please Your Majesty Give us a kick, if you would, Your Ma

      @Sebbe:

      My Philippine partner and I visited Bangkok, Thailand last year. My observation of Thailand was much the same as yours.

      I also noticed an intense preoccupation and dedication to the King, whose picture looked down on one from everywhere like some benevolent benefactor and diety to bow and scrape to.

      I felt very much like Anna and the King of Siam.

      Yes, Your Majesty; No, Your Majesty.
      Tell us how low to go, Your Majesty;
      Make some more decrees, Your Majesty,
      Don’t let us up off out knees, Your Majesty.
      Give us a kick, if you please Your Majesty
      Give us a kick, if you would, Your Majesty-
      Oh, That was good, Your Majesty!

      Feb 24, 2009 at 8:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles J. MuellerYes, Your Majesty; No, Your Majesty. Tell us how low to go, Your Majesty; Make some more decrees, Your Majesty, Don't let us up off out knees, Your Majesty. Give us a kick, if you please Your Majesty Give us a kick, if you would, Your Ma
      Charles J. MuellerYes, Your Majesty; No, Your Majesty. Tell us how low to go, Your Majesty; Make some more decrees, Your Majesty, Don't let us up off out knees, Your Majesty. Give us a kick, if you please Your Majesty Give us a kick, if you would, Your Ma

      correction: diety should deity, before the word police and his Majesty come after me. ;-)

      I have absolutely no idea how the bold print above my posting occurred?

      Feb 24, 2009 at 8:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • getreal
      getreal

      Thailand is my favorite travel destination in the world. That being said there is a lot of hypocrisy. The last time I was in Phuket as we got ready to go out for the evening Bridget Jones 2 was on ( when you are in a foreign country you watch whatever is on the english language channels) when the part where the pretty lesbian kisses Bridget the screen went black. Had this been in a islamic country or a truly conservative country it would have been one thing but this is a country where blocks away 13 years old girls were grinding away in nudie bars and men were purchasing their “wares”. I love Thailand truly but I ask myself if I should continue to add money to their economy. As far as the king who they all seem to love and are so proud of I can’t think of any reason why that should be a problem. People loved Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, people love Archbishop Desmond Tutu why not the Thai King.

      Feb 25, 2009 at 3:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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