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Brutality in Bangkok
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1977 Pulitzer Prize, Spot News Photography, Neal Ulevich, Linked Press
October 1976: Thailand’s 3rd federal government in two decades teeters on the brink, rocked by clashes between right-wing vocational college students and left-wing university college students. Late one particular evening, two liberal students are lynched.
Connected Press photographer Neal Ulevich coated the Vietnam War for five decades. But nothing he saw in the jungle prepared him for the early morning of Oct. 6, when proper-wing college students assault left-wing college students in the vicinity of the university. "When I got there, it was acquiring much more and more violent. Paramilitary troops seriously armed with recoilless rifles showed up. The left-wing college students have been not armed and were not shooting back. They took refuge in the university buildings.
"Tremendous volleys of automatic weapons have been fired across the soccer fields into the classrooms. There have been bodies all more than, glass breaking. There was no location to consider cover. I was really frightened."
Ultimately, the left-wing pupils surrender. Ulevich heads for the gates, anxious to get his images back again to his office. "I noticed some commotion in the trees. I walked down there and I noticed a system hanging. He was definitely dead, but the crowd was so enraged that a gentleman was hitting the system on the head with a folding chair. I stood there to see if anyone was looking at me. No one was. I took a number of frames and walked away."
In the end, an irony: "When I won the Pulitzer, the Bangkok papers noted it on Web page A single. They have been very proud that a photographer from Bangkok had won the Pulitzer. They did not indicate the pictures."