Thailand: Student Activists Battle Leftists

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July 22, 2010:  The government is using a wide array of measures to try and disrupt or destroy the populist (red shirt) movement. This is especially important if the yellow shirts are to have a chance of staying in power after another national election. So red shirt leaders and major activists are being arrested or threatened. Pro-red shirt media is being shut down or threatened. For example, 26 local radio stations were recently closed, using the emergency decree, and accused of spreading red shirt ideas. The government has also urged its supporters in the universities (where they outnumber the red shirts) to be more aggressive against the red shirts. Very few students took part in the recent red shirt demonstrations, partly because most university students come from families that oppose the populists. These yellow shirt families see the red shirts as a bunch of leftists, keen on taking from the wealthier yellow shirts, and giving the money to the more numerous red shirts. While college students tend to be more leftist, in this case, the red shirts are a minority on campuses, and yellow shirt students are aggressive in opposing the populists. The problem here is that the middle class has grown enormously in the last three decades, and have suffered greatly from economic fluctuations and the whims of politicians (who are increasingly very rich entrepreneurs trying to buy votes by taxing the middle class more heavily, and giving the money to the larger number of poor Thais.) The yellow shirts are called royalists, because that's the only thing the many factions have in common. Most yellow shirts are middle class people concerned about their ability to stay in the middle class. But there are also military officers, government employees and many who are simply very devoted to the monarchy. But the red shirts represent the majority of Thais, and therein lies the problem.

July 21, 2010: In the south, another Moslem civilian was killed in a drive by shooting. Islamic terrorist increasingly use such murders to try and discourage Moslems from cooperating with the police. The Islamic terrorists down south are slowly losing their separatist struggle. But because the terrorists are so closely allied to the smuggling gangs (who have been around for generations), it's going to be difficult to completely eliminate the Islamic radicals.

July 20, 2010: The government lifted the state of emergency in three provinces, leaving 16 still under police restrictions.

July 15, 2010: In the south, in several incidents, a terrorist was killed, another captured and a village defense volunteer was murdered.

July 14, 2010: The government announced $31 million in cash bonuses for lower level government employees. This sort of thing keeps the majority of government employees happy, and pro-government.

July 12, 2010:  In the south, someone fired two 40mm grenades into a compound used by village defense volunteers. There were no casualties.

 

 

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