Bangkok Post asks: Who’s popping the popcorn?
During the crack down on the Red Shirts a few years back, a great many Red Shirts and other, were killed, in execution style, by sniper bullets to the head. Many people observed the situation as there were literally, 100s of picture and video of the Thai Army sniper team at work. Those many pictures and video shows the shooter with the sniper rifle in position, and a point man, in position near the shooter, directing the sniper towards the target. They worked as a team, and their activity highly coordinated, and many people remember these sniper team in action well.
The other day, when the Lak Sri clash took place, many sniper teams arrived, to help Fascist Suthep protesters, against the Red Shirts. They were mostly hidden in mask, and the sniper rifles were covered up, so the sniper gun type can not be identified. Suthep since then said that the popcorn shooter are his movement’s protector, and will call them in for a cerebration. Fascist Suthep also warned the Red Shirts movement of the popcorn shooters.
To most neutral people, who observed the pictures that floated on the social network, comparing the Thai army sniper team in action, during the Red Shirts crack-down a few years back, and the sniper teams in action, during the Lak Sri violent confrontation, many are struck, by how similar the snipers team, of the two events, were highly similar.
The following is from the Bangkok Post: (Source)
Who’s popping the popcorn?
Who the unidentified forces are protecting the anti-government protesters of late is anyone’s guess. Some groups, including the protesters themselves, believe the armed forces are secretly providing protection for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). The theory holds that these so-called “popcorn warriors” are soldiers safeguarding protesters from “foreign forces” or “men in black” who clashed with soldiers during the 2010 violence and may have come back again to target the protesters.
But if the popcorn warriors are soldiers, the question remains as to whether they are offering protection of their own volition or have been ordered to do so by their superiors. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban insists the unidentified forces are not PDRC security guards.
Unidentified gunmen first stepped into the frame on Nov 30 last year when they reportedly exchanged gunfire with red-shirt attackers during clashes at Ramkhamhaeng University.
The name “popcorn warriors” began to be bandied about, particularly on social media, after clashes at Laksi intersection on the eve of the Feb 2 election, when unknown gunmen appeared out of nowhere to protect the protesters. The term evolved after a hooded man was photographed firing a gun concealed in a cornseed bag at red-shirt supporters.
The “popcorn warriors” were thought to have returned on Tuesday when riot police launched an operation to disperse protesters at Phan Fa Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. This time, there may have been several of the unidentified gunmen.
Their presence turned the tide of the battle against the police, who became targets themselves. Subsequently the police were forced to stop their dispersal operation and retreat. Four protesters and a policeman were killed during the clash and 71 people were injured, many seriously. Four to five unidentified men also released PDRC co-leader Somkiat Pongpaibul from police captivity at the protest dispersal scene as he was being held in a police wagon near Phan Fa Bridge. Their exploits have drawn praise and admiration from the protesters. Meanwhile, some members of the red-shirts and the government also believe the unidentified gunmen are soldiers.