Another Thai protest has turned deadly as two soldiers are wounded after a gun and grenade attack on a protest near the Government House in Bangkok. Protests for and against the government have been going on for months.
This Thai protest was by the people who are against the government. They will continue to protest at the Government House despite the attack. The Government House is where the Thai parliament sits. Parliament is not in session as it is the holiday season in Thailand.
Two Thai soldiers were shot in the chest. Their commander says they are off the danger list. There is not any word on who attacked the protesters.
About 100,000 supporters of the government, called Red Shirts, were holding a rally in another part of Bangkok. They are loyal to Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister of Thailand, and to her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin has been exiled since 2008. He was sentenced to two years of prison for conflict of interest. He fixed a government auction so he could buy some land. Nowhere knows where he is. It is equally unknown when he will return to Thailand.
His sister, Yingluck, also faces legal problems. She may have illegally demoted her head of the National Security Council to being an adviser to the prime minister. Thai courts have ruled what she did was wrong. The National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand says that she can be impeached for the corruption involved in a scheme to subsidize Thai rice farmers. The government currently owes these rice farmers money . Thai protest has been happening because of this corruption.
The Red Shirts, the supporter of the government, come mostly from the north and the northeast of Thailand. They consider that there is a conspiracy by the Thai elites to start a crisis that would allow somebody to become prime minister without an election. They believe that the courts are biased against the Shinawatras and the Red Shirts. The Shinawatras are accused of corruption and get punished for it. Suthep, the head of the opposing protesters, has not even been on trial for allowing the military to use real ammunition against the Red Shirts in 2010. The opposition was in power at that time.
There was just an election held on February 2, 2014. The opposition did not take part in the election. A Thai court ruled that the election should be voided because no voting took place. Some voting areas had been blockaded to prevent people from voting. The opposition is blamed for the blockades.
Things should be quiet for the rest of April as it is a Thai holiday season. April 7th is a holiday and it is called Chakri Day. It celebrates the dynasty that the King of Thailand belongs to. The Songkran Festival is April 13th, 14th and 15th. It celebrates the Thai New Year on April 13th. It is mainly celebrated by Thais throwing water at each other. The water is meant to symbolize the cleansing of the soul. Songkran also celebrates the beginning of the rainy season in Thailand.
The opposition and the government say that the Thai protest might continue after Songkran. Hopefully, it will not turn deadly.
By Tom Clark