BANGKOK, Thailand – In a series of violent upheavals that have enveloped Thailand, a part of the nation is calling for the elected government to step down.
Though the majority of individuals in Thailand wish for the current government to remain in power, the surge of fierce protests underway are aimed against those in support of the present government.
As stones, rubber bullets, and tear gas grenades soar through the air, the intensifying situation outside government buildings in Bangkok seem to show no sign of imminent relief. Since the onset of the riots, four individuals have died and over 100 have sustained injuries. However, this situation is not the first of it’s kind in Thailand, as can be seen in 2010, when over 90 people died during the course of raging political protests.
Thailand is considered to be a “country in transition,”; a movement that began over 20 years ago. In 1992, Thailand began to be ruled by it’s first civilian government, which began to fortify and build more democratic structures. In 2001, when Thaksin Shinawatra was named the twenty-third prime minister, he was able to deliver the stimulus package to the rural population as promised years before.
Unfortunately, the victory of Shinawatra’s campaign outraged the political elites of Bangkok, who were no longer able to control Thailand solely on their own terms. From Thaksin’s victory came the the feud between the Red and the Yellow Shirts. The Red Shirts were dedicated in supporting Thaksin and his younger sister, Yingluck. These two are regarded as individuals who represent the social change that is necessary for Thailand’s society to grow. The Yellow Shirts sum up most of their support from the southern portion of the country–those who wish to hold onto the old social order.
In 2007, Thaksin and his party fell from grace, granting the Yellow Shirts the perfect opportunity to protest in the streets to have the Reds removed from their position. This spurred the catastrophic events that took place in 2010, as the Yellows support system fought violently against the revolts of the Red Shirts.
Since 2011, Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck, has remained in power. Moreover, the determination of the Yellow Shirts has been relentless, regardless of whether the majority of the population support the Reds. The Yellow Shirts are demanding an unelected “people’s council,” which would choose a new prime minister.
As the battles currently roar through Thailand, the Yellow Shirts are once again protesting to show their mistrust of the people’s desire while hoping that Thailand sees peace soon through deposing Prime Minister Yingluck. Furthermore, the leader of these protests, Suthep Thaugsuban, recently declared a “day of victory,” quickly following the declaration by giving the Thai Prime Minister two days to step down. Thaugsuban’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
Due to the severity of the current riots, flights have been raised to the level red, making them a “significant threat.” Over 80 tours of around 1,000 people will be affected by amended flight cancellation policies.According to the regional director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Bangkok, Rainer Adam, the conflict arising in the country is healthy for the nation. “Societies change when conflicts arise. But conflicts must, of course, be fought with the appropriate tools. They must be put into an institutional framework.”
The framework that Adam refers to, however, is precisely what is lacking between the ensuing feud in Thailand.
– Samaria Garrett