Julian Austin Tovar, of Newport Beach, traveled to Thailand as part of a team of Westerners planning to make a documentary on Paw Lu Lu, a Burmese exile who was co-nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
On May 20, when Tovar and company arrived at a church in Bangkok where they were going to stay, the Thai capital was on the tail end of the so-called “red shirt” street protests, which had turned into riots that made world headlines.
The riots ended that day, but gunfire was still taking place a few minutes away from the church.
Tovar and friends ventured into the streets of the “live firing zone” to photograph and film the action, Tovar recounted in an e-mail to the Daily Pilot. On the following day, May 21, they went back to those abandoned streets to document the riots’ destruction and aftermath.
Here is a gallery of some of the photos captured through Tovar’s lens. Some photos include images of firefighters extinguishing a fire in the Central World shopping mall, images of destruction along Ratchaburi Street, as well as images of a Thai forensic pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand holding up a recovered sample of C-4, the explosive material.
When these pictures came in, Tovar was still in Thailand and planning to travel to the Thai-Burmese border to work on the Paw Lu Lu documentary.
— Imran Vittachi