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Ear to the Ground

Thai Protesters, Gov’t Struggle to Resolve Standoff

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Posted on May 17, 2010
Thai protesters
timesonline.co.uk

In this still from the Times Online’s coverage of the Thai standoff, protesters wage battle on the streets of Bangkok.

The situation in Bangkok between “red shirt” protesters and the Thai government was tense and precarious on Monday, as leaders from both sides of the conflict made tentative attempts to communicate while thousands of demonstrators held their ground in their encampment.  —KA

The Washington Post:

An aide to Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said a Red Shirt leader called him and proposed a cease-fire to end fighting that has killed 37 people and injured at least 266 since Thursday, when the latest violence in a two-month stand-off erupted, the Associated Press reported. The aide, Korbsak Sabhavasu, said he received a call from Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua and told him that if the protesters retreated to their encampment, soldiers would not fire at them, AP said.

[...] It was not immediately clear whether the tentative contacts would resolve the impasse, which appeared to be headed toward an escalation earlier Monday when both sides ruled out face-to-face talks.

A small government plane dropped leaflets demanding that the protesters abandon their encampment or face criminal charges, but the estimated 5,000 people there refused to budge, and sporadic fighting was reported. Before dawn, explosions and bursts of gunfire were heard outside the luxury Dusit Thani Hotel bordering the protest zone, and guests were rushed to the basement for safety.

[...] The tensions escalated further Monday morning with the news that Maj. Gen. Khattiya Sawasdipol, a renegade army officer and high-profile member of the protest movement, had died in a hospital four days after being shot in the head by a sniper.

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