The protests in Bangkok continue with Red and Yellow shirts both taking to the streets; yes, both taking to the streets. The yellow shirts have a permanent protest, though numbers are very small, while the red shirts have protests once or twice each month.
To oversimplify and summarize the situation:
- The yellow shirts have an ongoing protest at the Government House and are upset about border issues and disputed land with Cambodia. 7 yellow shirts were arrested in Cambodia in December for crossing into the disputed land being controlled by Cambodia; 2 of those arrested are still in custody, facing an 8-year jail term. The government has arrested one of the yellow shirt leaders of the 2008 airport blockage- the yellow shirt have called for a major rally on February 5. Why the arrest comes over two years after the airport blockage happened is outside my comprehension.
- The red shirts have monthly protests and want a new government- the next red shirt rally will be on February 13 and will be against “oppression without justice”. On February 19 the red shirts are planning a large rally that will end at Ratchaprasong. The protest and rally on the 19th looks to be key, the red shirts will pass a resolution during the rally to possibly protract the rally if they are not seeing signs of progress. This means the rally will not disperse and the red shirts will set up a permanent protest site. I have no idea how you pass a resolution at a protest, I would think the protest will become permanent and the “resolution” is simply a threat.
- The army has been rumored- with rumors printed in local newspapers- to be planning a coup, but has come out and denied they are planning a coup. The government cannot feel safe and give the face of stability when coups are being openly discussed and denied.
There is no danger or significant inconvenience caused by the yellow shirt rally. The red shirts decision on the 19th in regards to making that rally permanent will be a key moment and will influenced primarily by the status of the yellow shirt rally. If the yellow shirts continue their permanent rally, the red shirts will respond with one of their own.
I simply wonder how Thailand benefits from this. At some point personal agendas and the agendas of political parties much be secondary to the needs of the nation. With death and the military in the streets of Bangkok during 2010 and what is happening in other nations, Thailand cannot afford to let ongoing protests scare off foreign investors and those that bring money into the economy and to the Thai people that need it the most.