Wednesday, 4 December 2013

In Thailand, anti-government protests turn violent

At least four people have been killed and another 57 have been wounded during clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters – numbering between 30,000 and 70,000 - near Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok's Bang Kapi district on November 30-December 1, Bangkok Post and Reuters reported...At least five people received gunshot wounds and five others were injured by knives or rocks...It is unclear who fired the gunshots...The protestors attacked government buildings demanding that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resign...Mrs Shinawatra has reportedly been moved to a secure location as a result of the demonstrations...Riot police and rapid deployment forces will take "peaceful steps" to clear all government premises in Bangkok of anti-government protesters, Xinhua reported, which will inevitably mean force...The speed of escalation in these protests underlines the fractured political landscape in Thailand which has already reached dangerous levels and could result in a military crackdown if violent protests continue...Despite its past interventions in protests, the military may want to stay on the sidelines if involving themselves could weaken their own political influence...Mrs Shinawatra’s government remains highly popular despite the unrest and she would probably win if a new election were to be called...However, many foreign interests in the region have an economic stake in Thailand’s government, and Bangkok is developing a new outlook for its affairs which could make any rushed political transition messy...Mixed in with the political strife is Thailand’s economic problems, especially with a growing credit bubble, which will only worsen the political crisis.

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