Future uncertain despite the calm

Future uncertain despite the calm

Thailand's recent political violence seems to have eased. On Tuesday, "Yellow Shirt" anti-government protesters carried out a peaceful occupation of Government House in Bangkok - after nine days of growing tension.

Fierce clashes between police and groups of young men - many hiding their faces behind scarves and balaclavas - had killed five people and injured more than 100 others. But the violence stopped on Tuesday.

Barriers were dismantled and barbed wire was removed from outside the government buildings. Police and protesters began to chat peacefully - exchanging bottles of water - instead of bullets and rocks.

Opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra want to force her and her ruling "Red shirt" Pheu Thai Party out of power. They believe she is serving the interests of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. A military coup forced him out in 2006 over claims of corruption and abuse of power.

Yingluck's ill-advised efforts to push through an amnesty law sparked the new protests. This law would have let Thaksin return from exile in Dubai - where he is living to avoid a two-year jail term imposed for corruption.

The stalemate remains, and the future looks uncertain.


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