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Here's what you need to know about Bangkok's latest political upheaval.
“They’re hunting us down,” Jakrapob said in a phone interview with GlobalPost. He would not reveal his location. “I left the place I deemed to be risky and dangerous.”
Though reconciliation is still possible, he said, Jakrapob would not rule out future violence. “After the military shot people … I would say all options are on the table.”
6) WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE PROTESTERS WHO SEIZED THE AIRPORT LAST FALL?
They remain free despite pending charges. That protest faction, which claims yellow as its signature hue, is pro-establishment and insists Red Shirts and their favored politicians are uneducated and corrupt. The “Yellow Shirts” rallied last year to drive out Red Shirt-friendly politicians. It worked, which is one reason why the Red Shirts staged the attempted takeover.
Though the two protest factions typically view one another with disgust, the recent attempted killing of the Yellow Shirts’ chief has actually chilled their fighting words.
After last week’s Bangkok revolt, Sondhi Limthongkul, a Yellow Shirt figurehead and cheerleader for the establishment, was nearly killed when gunmen sprayed his van with nearly 100 AK-47 and M-16 bullets.
Most expected his camp to blame the Red Shirts. Instead, in a TV address, the targeted leader’s son warned that a secret cabal of military and police were stirring up violence between the pro- and anti-establishment street mobs — planning to rush in amidst the turmoil, save the day and achieve power.
“For the (Yellow Shirts) to say that, we have to take it seriously,” said Thitinan, the political analyst. “He’s drawing a common victimization. He’s saying there is a conspiracy by powers that be to have yellows and reds fight it out and create conditions for unsaid forces to intervene in their favor.”
Even Jakrapob, the Red Shirts leader, said the accusation “makes a lot of sense. The two colors are going to be brought together in a most strange way.” But no one has offered proof and the government insists it’s just a “conspiracy theory.”
7) WHAT CAN BE DONE?
This week, Thailand’s prime minister is convening parliament to discuss reconciliation. Amnesty for Red Shirt-friendly politicians banned under corruption charges is a possibility. So is altering a constitutional clause — hated by Red Shirts — that can shut down entire political parties for fraud and ban politicians for five years.
“Hopefully, the next constitution will be one that will be able to reunite the country,” Buranaj said. “Then Thailand can go back to what it was, a harmonious country where people are tolerant of dissent and differing views.”
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