Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bangkok on fire...literally :(

When I wrote my previous post with its title 'While Bangkok burns' little did I even think that the title used would become the literal state of Bangkok a day later.

As of this morning 19 May 2010, the army has moved in to the protest site with armoured vehicles, firing live shots at some protesters stationed near the make-shift barricade they created using sharpened bamboo sticks and tyres. The operation started at dawn this morning, and by early afternoon the protest leaders had called for protesters to disperse and they turned themselves in. By that time, another 5 people had been killed, including an Italian journalist, and several more wounded.

I have spent the entire afternoon/evening glued in front of the TV switching between CNN and BBC, while simultaneously reading up on news from various online sources and calling up friends and family in Thailand to get the latest updates. To say it was an eventful day in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand would be an understatement.

While the protest is now officially over and the government claims things are under control, the situation has actually got to its worse - with fires being set on various public buildings across town in Bangkok and a few other provincial towns.

What many feared about things getting out of hand is exactly what has happened. (Keep in mind also my earlier warning about things being taken underground - expect sporadic violence around town in ensuing weeks or even months). While the protest leaders have turned themselves in and asked protesters to go home, a number of them continue to defy authorities and have escalated the level of violence. It has now reached a state of anarchy, and the governments alleged roadmap to reconciliation seems unlikely to offer disgruntled groups any assurances. It will be an interesting next few months for Thailand, and I fear, not in the positive way.

For those interested to find out more on the background of what led to these protests, have a read at this summary compiled by the BBC. A simplified quick overview version ofcourse, where many other details are not discussed. Another background summary is available via the CNN site and also this article from Newsweek


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