17
Oct
10

Q+A : Are Thailand’s “Red Shirts” regrouping?

The larger percentage of Thais are Freedom loving people who suffer under the elitist, non-populist, non-people elected government, so in essence it’s a hypothetical question to ask.

(Reuters) – Thousands of anti-government “red shirts” demonstrated in the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya on Sunday to demand the release of their leaders and scores of comrades detained since bloody protests in April and May.

The “red shirts” remain a potent extra-parliamentary force, five months after the military cracked down to end a protracted rally that paralysed central Bangkok for weeks.

Here are some questions and answers about the red shirts and the risk they pose to stability in Thailand.

WHY ARE THEY DEMONSTRATING?

The movement, made up mostly of urban and rural working-class Thais, believes the current government is illegitimate and that its backers, the royalist establishment elite and military, have undermined democracy and the judiciary, ensuring the dissolution of parties loyal to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a coup in 2006.

The focus of their 10-week protest from mid-March to May was to demand an immediate election. That was not met and the protests spiralled into rioting and bloody clashes with troops, leaving 91 people dead, nearly 2,000 wounded and more than 30 commercial buildings damaged by arson.

The red shirts are gathering frequently to protest at the detention of their leaders and an estimated 175 demonstrators, and to highlight what they say were human rights abuses and unlawful killings by the military, which broke up the mass rallies.

Source: (http://goo.gl/KmQg) – Reuters, By Martin Petty, BANGKOK | Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:22am EDT

 

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