The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Red Shirts play a waiting game in Bangkok

Written By: docreineger - Apr• 20•10

Thai military "locked & loaded"

An uneasy rest formed at the corner of Silom and Rama IV roads in Bangkok, as several thousand Red Shirts, supporters of the deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, were faced down by soldiers and police, armed with tear gas and live ammunition. As police and military lined the southern side of Silom between Rama IV and Convent Road, Red Shirts were confined to an area within Lumpini Park, waiting for their next move.

Even in tough times, a pretty girl is always ready to fire off a quick salute

In the early afternoon, several thousand government supporters — sans yellow shirts — began demonstrating near the police lines on southern Silom.

Although the Thaksin supporters had vowed to march down Silom, they held off, as the military had made a statement earlier that they would not allow the Red Shirts to ossify Silom Road.

Who are the Red Shirts? Some, like political pundit Sirikul Bunnag, as quoted in the April 20 issue of the Bangkok Post, argue that there are four discrete factions: Thaksin and his supporters, Radical Leftists (including Maoists), the country poor, and soldiers who have crossed over into the pro-Thaksin camp, looking to achieve higher rank with the return of a Thaksin-oriented government.

Red Shirts await the next call to action

Soldiers, who are carrying live rounds consisting of bullets, shotgun shells, and tear gas, are largely made up of country people themselves (none of the soldiers I interviewed spoke English), and it remains to be seen how willing they will be to fire upon their own people, what ever their political persuasion.

On the other hand, action could be escalated through the intervention of the Yellow Shirts, who have vowed that they will do something to unblock the situation if the police and military won’t. As of now, it’s a standoff, as Bangkok waits warily for the next step.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.