For those of us who have seen Thai politics up close and personal, it’s obvious the showdown between the anti-government red shirts and the government of PM Abhisit Vejjajiva is about to get even more violent. Several M-79 missiles were shot at a downtown Bangkok sky train station this evening and three people were killed. Seventy five other people, including several foreign tourists, were injured.
With the government now saying over 10,000 soldiers are set up in buildings and on streets in the Rajprasong area of Bangkok and that these soldiers have been issued live ammunition, you can just about 100% guarantee there will be more loss of life in Thailand in the next few days. The red shirts have had the entire major shopping area in Bangkok completely shut down for two weeks causing massive economic loss. The Thai government isn’t backing down or listening to red shirt demands and the only possible end to this is more violence.
In fact, most Thais think, even as the government of Thailand is still trying to woo tourists to the kingdom, nobody with half a brain who isn’t Thai should be in Thailand if they don’t need to be. The red shirts are supported by many other people in Thailand outside Bangkok, as can already be seen by the numerous bomb and grenade blasts all over the country in the last month.
If the dirt really does hit the fan in Bangkok, which it’s set to do, nobody who understands the situation expects the rest of Thailand to sit still and watch. All out civil war, with every faction out on the streets, is a distinct possibility.
In fact, so possible is this scenario, all hotels around the red shirt occupied area have closed down as have all shopping malls and stores. This usually only happens when the government knows something’s about to happen and that ‘something’ usually involves violence and bullets. Many Thais believe the military is about to ‘go in’ and they don’t want tourists around to either bear witness or be shot.
Thailand has a long history of violent political clashes that ended in bloodshed and, even in the 21st century, that does not seem to be changing. With the M-79 grenade attack on the Sala Daeng sky train station this evening opening up a new front, the next few days are likely to be the ‘make or break’ time for the government and the red shirts and more bloodshed is not only possible, it’s probable.
Meanwhile, if you’re a tourist and you don’t have to be in Thailand in the next few months – don’t be. It will be better for your long-term health.