The PM of Thailand was on the BBC show Hardtalk, a brief video of how uncomfortable it was: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/8648639.stm
He continued to say that “things are getting better”. Really? This is better:
Sorry PM, but that is comedy.
Thai people- at least in Bangkok- appear to be growing very tired of the protest, the threat of crackdowns by the military, threats of violence from the Red Shirts (a hospital was stormed by the Red Shirts last night) and the middle of Bangkok looking like a jungle fortress.
The Red Shirts appear to have lost the momentum, their numbers are dwindling rapidly. It is very hot, the protesters are tired, scared about a crackdown and want to go home. There was a scuffle between some of the Red Shirts today after they were told by their leaders to tear down a barricade and refused. The government/military won the only face to face fight this week.
The telling sign about the protest- people are not joining the Red Shirts and are tiring of the current climate. The yellow shirts took to the streets as the “multi colored” shirts, causing a major escalation in tension about clashes between the shirt colors. The yellow shirts stopped their protest- a sure sign the government is feeling they have the momentum.
The Red Shirts felt they have been targeted and are no longer wearing Red Shirts, the fashion of protests.
A theory that I support- the government doesn’t want to end this protest. Why? If a snap election was called, the government would probably have lost as of just 2 weeks ago. Now, with the Red Shirts found with weapons, causing major traffic disruptions, being made to look as if they are seeking violence and storming hospitals, the government has a good chance of winning a snap election. The longer the protest goes, the better the possibility? Why else would the Yellow Shirts abandon the protest and the military not storm the Red Shirts fortress?
The Red Shirts appear to be pushing for a major confrontation with the military, police and government as this would force both the military and police to show where their support lies. The government continues to avoid this, saying the Red Shirts are heavily armed, entrenched (that is true) and there would be numerous casualties.Well done by the government, make the Red Shirts strength a weakness.
We are back to a stare fight taking place in air conditioned rooms while people swelter on the streets and struggle to go about their daily routines due to disruptions in public transportation and street closures.
All the while life outside the occupied zone continues as normal, Thai people smiling and apologizing to foreigners for what is happening and asking us to be careful. Unfortunately for Thailand there are fewer foreigners to greet as tourism is off by over 25%. The foreigners here have the constant “WTF?” look when seeing the barricades for the first time.