by Helen Young April 13th, 2010
Footage of the clash between anti-government Red Shirt protesters and Thai soldiers taken by a Japanese Reuters cameraman just before he died has been released. Hiro Muramato, who was in Bangkok to cover the political unrest for Reuters, was shot in the chest soon after capturing the remarkable footage. He died from his injuries before he reached hospital.
Mr Muramoto’s camera and film were returned to the Reuters news agency by the protesters. The footage shows how the cameraman was standing in amongst the government soldiers as Saturday’s violence escalated. The footage was shot in Bangkok’s old district and shows soldiers firing their rifles into the air. Although noisy and chaotic, the situation does not get out of control until a bomb is thrown at the feet of the soldiers.
The explosion is calmly recorded by Mr Muramoto who, instead of running, calmly walks backwards recording the scene and some of the injured soldiers. He even manages to keep his cool as another bomb explodes. He then turns his lens on the injured before capturing footage of the Red Shirts throwing missiles. Soon after this, Mr Muramoto was shot and killed.
Twenty-one people lost their lives in the violence at the weekend and hundreds more were injured. Thailand’s Foreign Minister has laid the blame for the violence squarely on the shoulders of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He says that it is he who is calling for his supporters to engage in violence. The Red Shirts are demanding that current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stand down and announce fresh elections.