2011 Photo Contest, Spot News, 2nd prize

The Red Shirts’ Last Stand


Corentin Fohlen

17 May, 2010

Red Shirt protestors clash with Thai government forces in mid-May, in the Silom commercial district of Bangkok.

About the photographer

Corentin Fohlen

After studying illustration and comics in Belgium, he discovered photography. Two years later, he began to work for the agency Wostok Press, covering the political and social new...

Background story

Bangkok, Thailand

A Red Shirt protestor collapses after feeling ill, during clashes with government forces in the Silom commercial district of Bangkok. The clashes were part of a two-month stand-off between the Red Shirts and the authorities. Violence escalated after Khattiya Sawasdipol (better known as Seh Daeng, a prominent renegade general) was shot in the head while being interviewed by a foreign journalist. He died in a coma on 17 May. Thailand had been gripped by political unrest since Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in September 2006. Elections in 2008 had placed Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Democratic Party leader, in power. The Red Shirts, however, coming largely from among the rural poor who had benefited from Thaksin’s policies, demanded Abhisit’s resignation, saying his government had come to power illegitimately and that he was a puppet of the military. Protestors hurled rocks and fireworks at government forces and set fire to tires in the street. Troops and the police countered with rubber bullets, tear gas, and live ammunition. On 19 May, after troops in armored cars had stormed barricades around the demonstrators’ encampment, Red Shirt leaders surrendered, telling their supporters to end the protest. Even after the call to surrender, some demonstrators said they would fight on. By the time unrest finally died down at the end of May, over 80 people had been killed and some 2,000 injured.

Photo credit:

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/60 s
Focal length
35 mm

This image is collected in