Photo: Florian Witulski.
Twenty-one people were killed at an anti-government rally in Bangkok on Saturday, but the assailants remain unknown. Reports of snipers, not connected to the army, are circulating. One of our Observers who was there says he saw people shooting at the crowd from the rooftops.
The opposition "Red Shirts" say the military were shooting people at close range. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva however denies the claims and is blaming the violence on "terrorists".
But a more mysterious force, unconnected to either party, is also causing speculation after rumours of sniper attacks began circulating. The rumours gained strength on Monday when autopsy results revealed that nine of the dead had been shot by high-power rifles. Our FRANCE 24 correspondent, Cyril Payen, reported that the wounded protesters did appear to have been shot by high-power rifles, "a weapon rarely found except with certain special military forces".
Were you at the rally and did you see snipers? Contribute with your account.
More amateur footage of the chaos
Posted on YouTube on 11 April 2010 by "gigcode". At 00'35 seconds soldiers can be seen shooting at head height.
Posted on YouTube on 11 April 2010 by "rattanachot2010". At 00'37 seconds what seems like a grenade goes off. The music in the background (by composer Frederic Chopin) was played by the army in an attempt to pacify the crowds.
“I saw people with long rifles hiding on the rooftops”
Florian Witulski is a 23-year-old student from Germany who has been living in Bangkok for the past two years. He filmed the protest on Saturday before he was shot in the arm and treated at a Bangkok Central Hospital.
I saw people, dressed in black and armed with long rifles, hiding on the rooftops. At first I thought they were police but then it seemed that they were shooting at the police, so along with my friends we decided that they must be either Red Shirts or a third party.
It will be very hard to prove who was really to blame for the deaths, even after a full investigation into the origin of the weapons. Many red shirts have homemade or imported weapons [a month ago several M79 grenade launchers and their ammunition were stolen from security forces]. On top of that the scene was chaotic; it's impossible to see what was going on even with all the video camera footage.
Just a week ago people were sick of the Red Shirts because they couldn't go out and they couldn't get to work due to the protests. But now people are agreeing that parliament should be dissolved because they don't want to see anymore dead or injured and they want to get on with the Songkran [New Year] holiday in peace. The Red Shirts have gained a lot of respect in the past few days."
Below, the footage Florian filmed on Khaosan Road before he was shot in the arm (at the end of the video).
Video filmed by Florian, posted on his blog post "Bangkok's Black Saturday".
Below, Florian's photos of the injured show a number of victims with head-shot wounds.
All images (and more) posted on Florian's blogpost, "Bangkok's Black Saturday".