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Of Special Interest

PORTUGAL – 24 May

The political crisis continues to mount in Thailand, and could lead to major street violence in Bangkok.

 

It increasingly appears the courts will oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in connection with any of several abuse-of-power and corruption cases opened by prosecutors.  The legal establishment widely is regarded as hostile to Yingluck’s brother and political master, Thaksin Shinawatra, a populist business tycoon who was ousted as prime minister in a bloodless military coup in 2006.

 

Putting its faith in the courts, the anti-Thaksin opposition on 2 March ended the blockades of key intersections in central Bangkok that it had begun on 13 January.  But it has retained three major camps in the capital, and in late March resumed demonstrations in the city center.

 

Murky shootings and low-grade bombing attacks had been occurring on an almost nightly basis before the opposition consolidated its protest camps.  Such attacks are continuing at a lower level.

 

With Yingluck on the ropes, Thaksin supporters known as Red Shirts are planning major demonstrations in Bangkok.  They had been avoiding demonstrations for fear of generating instability that would lead the anti-Thaksin military to depose Yingluck in a coup.

 

Personnel should visit Bangkok and the rest of Thailand only on pressing business.  Those who must be on the ground should monitor the situation closely, and avoid protest sites.  They should seek indoor shelter immediately if violence erupts nearby.  Companies with offices or other facilities in the country should review, and if necessary update, contingency plans for unrest.   

 
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