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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thai Red Shirts Surrender

This is a story I should've been posting about but, as I said in my last post, I've been frivilously distracted for the past couple of weeks.

From the Damien McElroy and Ian MacKinnon article in the Telegraph:

"Four leaders of the demonstrators who have occupied areas of the capital for weeks were shown on television in police custody.

"Jatuporn Prompan, one of the leaders in custody, had only minutes earlier offered to surrender. 'I apologise to you all but I don't want any more losses. I am devastated too. We will surrender,' he said from a stage in the protest camp.

"The move came after armoured personnel carriers stormed the tyre and bamboo barricades. Many of the protesters fled further within the encampment as the army advanced.

"At least four protesers were killed in the violence, with witnesses describing how one man was shot in the head by troops before being carried away.

"There were also reports that two foreign journalists had been wounded in the fighting, and that one Italian journalist may have died.

[...]

"The demonstrators began the protest in mid-March, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, dissolution of Parliament and immediate elections.

"They created an encampment in Bangkok's posh downtown Rajprasong district in April, surrounding themselves by a barricade of tires and bamboo spears.

"'This is the last push. Looks like the government really wants to end it this time,' said Senator Lertrat Rattanawanit, who had tried to mediate between the two sides. 'They have laid out the steps, giving out deadlines for people to move out and all that. It's a pity that using force is inevitable.'

[...]

"Since 1946, when King Bhumibol Adulyadej took the Thai throne as an 18-year-old, Thailand has seen nine coups and more than 20 prime ministers. Only two of 17 constitutions since absolute monarchy ended in 1932 have mandated parliaments that are entirely elected. The king, who is revered across the nation, has been in hospital since Sept. 19 and hasn't spoken publicly about the current demonstrations.

"Mr Abhisit himself has never won a national election: He was picked by legislators in December 2008 after a court dissolved the pro-Thaksin ruling party for election fraud. The decision coincided with the seizure of Bangkok's airports by protesters wearing yellow shirts who oppose Mr Thaksin."

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