The two-month-long mass protest that has paralyzed the Thai capital is nearing resolution, as the besieged prime minister looks ready to accept new elections. But some observers wonder, with rival mobs ready to march in perpetuity, if Thai politics will ever really stabilize.
Anyone who has ever backpacked through the land of smiles knows that the Thai people love their king (or at least put his picture everywhere). The world’s longest-reigning monarch doesn’t normally involve himself in the country’s messy political upheavals, but King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 82, is finally speaking out after seven weeks of sometimes lethal protests.
Thousands of anti-government protesters rallied in front of the Thai parliament on Wednesday demanding new elections. The demonstration forced legislators to pack it in and some of the Red Shirt protesters smashed through the compound’s gates, though they left shortly thereafter.
An estimated 50,000 red-shirted protesters donated their own blood to be poured onto government and ruling party headquarters in Bangkok on Tuesday. The supporters of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra demanded new elections. Their numbers crested at an estimated 100,000 but appear to be dwindling.