Monday, April 13, 2009

Thai Crisis

In a case of do as I say, not as I do; Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered tanks onto the streets as protests against his government continued. At least 68 people were injured, after Thai troops tried to disperse the protesters in the capital Bangkok. There are conflicting reports on whether any protesters were killed in the clashes but things are going to get worse before they get better as thousands of Thai anti-government protesters are continuing to rally against the government.

For anyone who is wondering why I say this is a case of “do as I say, not as I do”, this is because the current government headed by Abhisit Vejjajiva came to power after mass protests forced the previous 2 Thai government, allies of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, out of power last year. In those cases, the protestors shut down the Thai airport causing massive losses to the Thai economy. One of the ministers in Abhisit Vejjajiva’s cabinet even addressed the protestors then in support of shutdown of the airport.

In a replay of the crisis last year, the protestors this time have forced the cancellation of the Asian summit after storming the hotel where the summit was supposed to be held. Thai authorities even had to evacuate foreign leaders by helicopter. Considering that the leaders of China, Japan, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian nations were all there, this is a major humiliation for the current Thai government.

The shoe is on the other foot and Vejjajiva has now ordered tanks onto the streets after issuing a state of emergency in Bangkok. Usually for these cases, the most direct method to solve the crisis is to hold new elections. However it is unlikely that Abhisit Vejjajiva will do that as the embattled Prime Minister will very likely get slaughtered at the polls.

With the government unlikely to call for new polls and the demonstrators not giving up the fight, expect more blood on the streets of Thailand before the crisis is over.

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