Thailand: Surrender


May 5, 2010: Two months of protests in the capital appear to have forced the government to meet the red shirt (populist, mostly poor) demands for new, and fair,  elections. So far, the protests have left 27 dead and nearly a thousand injured. The government still has outstanding arrest warrants for red shirt leaders, and until these are withdrawn, there will be no peace. The red shirts also want a firm date for dissolving parliament, investigations of past government violence, and for the withdrawal of troops from the capital. All this is still to be negotiated. The government was forced to concede to the red shirts because the army refused to use deadly force to remove the demonstrators. The generals feared this would trigger a civil war, as the red shirt movement was active throughout most of the country. The politicians were not willing to push the issue, apparently acknowledging that the civil war angle was valid.

May 4, 2010: In the south, two 40mm grenades were fired at an army base, but hit nothing of value. Nearby, soldiers avoided injury when a roadside bomb went off at the wrong time.

May 3, 2010:  The government agreed to red shirt demands for new elections. These will take place in November.

May 2, 2010: The government announced that there would be no martial law. Rumors indicate that the army has refused to use force on the red shirts, fearing that could trigger a civil war. Many of the troops sympathize with the red shirts, although most of the officers side with the government.

April 29, 2010: In the capital, a hospital was evacuated after a hundred red shirt demonstrators swarmed into the complex, looking for soldiers they believed were massing there for an attack on red shirts. There were no soldiers, and the red shirts withdrew. But the hospital administrators feared more disruptions and decided to evacuate.

April 28, 2010:  In the capital, red shirt protesters and troops clashed at a roadblock, leaving one soldier dead and 19 soldiers and protesters wounded. The red shirts are using more mobile groups to hold demonstrations where the police and army are not expecting it. The government has been talking about unleashing the army for a violent crackdown, but red shirts know people (usually troops) in the army, and realize that the trigger-pullers are not eager to kill demonstrators, and the army officers know it.

April 27, 2010:  The red shirt demonstrations are spreading to other cities, as the red shirts sense that the government is backing down, not willing to risk civil war by ordering the police and soldiers to open fire.

April 26, 2010:  The government is now willing to negotiate a settlement with the red shirts, although the pro-government yellow shirts are asking for a forceful effort to put down the demonstrators.

April 25, 2010:  In the capital, grenade attacks on the home of a former prime minister left three people wounded, included three policemen.

April 22, 2010: In the capital, five grenades were set off, leaving one dead and 80 wounded.




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