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Up closer and personal with violence

PATRICK de Noirmont is a photographer who saw the unrest in Bangkok this year up close and personal. He was amazed at the freedom of access journalists had to document the violence.

To the rest of the world, it was front page news. Siem Reap will play host to a slideshow from photographers who were in Bangkok at the Angkor Photo Festival tonight, six months after the horrific incidents.

Curated by Francoise Callier at FCC Angkor Hotel, tonight’s slideshow at 8pm about the Bangkok unrest will feature de Noirmont’s work among other photographers. He says the freedom the press had during those two months have resulted in pictures being “violent and spectacular” and this will be evident in the slideshow.

The Bangkok unrest, as it is commonly known, happened this year in April and May, with Red Shirt protest leaders surrendering on May 19. Last Friday, Red Shirt protesters rallied in Bangkok to mark six months since the army cracked down on their demonstrations, which turned violent.

“The freedom of access we had for two months was incredible,” de Noirment said. “We could spend one hour with the Red Shirts, or one hour with the army. It was easy, but fun to do.”

De Noirmont was living in Bangkok and shocked by what he saw. “It was all friendly to start with, but then it became nasty. There was a big incident on April 12 where 12 to 15 people were killed, including people from Reuters. On April 14, it was unbelievable to see the violence in Thailand. There were snipers shooting people in the street, schools  closed and you could cross the city in half an hour.”

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