Thaksin Calls for Revolution
Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 13th April, 2009
The exiled, ousted Thai politician Thaksin Shinawatra has declared that now the Thai army has tanks on the streets of Bangkok, ‘it is time for people to come out in revolution.’ Thousands of his red-shirted supporters brought chaos to the Thai capital over the weekend and forced the cancellation of a planned summit of leaders from the 10 ASEAN (South East Asian) countries in the coastal resort of Pattaya. They are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who was voted into power by the parliament in December, and has now imposed a state of emergency. Thaksin was removed from the premiership in 2006.
The Red Shirts have become increasingly violent in their anti-government protests, setting fire to buses, attacking government cars and throwing missiles, including petrol bombs, at police. But in return, the army has gone out onto the streets, firing live rounds into the crowds, as well as into the air, causing dozens of injuries. Fatalities are certain if the confrontation does not stop and there must be a likelihood of the military making a coup d’etat, as they have done on various occasions in Thailand’s recent history, unless some semblance of calm is restored. For the time being, Abhisit says he is hanging on in there, but his political position is perilous. And he can hardly complain about the Red Shirts taking to the streets, as the rival, conservative Yellow Shirts, who brought Bangkok’s airports to a standstill four months ago, as well as camping out in the capital’s administrative area, were larely responsible for the chain of events that brought him to power.