Thai Red Shirt Leaders Evade Democrat Arrest in Bangkok Hotel
Three Thai Red Shirt leaders targeted for arrest by by the ruling party security forces made a bold escape Friday from a Bangkok hotel.
Aided by supporters, the leaders were filmed escaping from their third-floor room by tying cord around themselves and being lowered to the waiting crowd. They were quickly whisked away from the site.
Escalating Violence in Thailand
The rhetoric and the violence has been escalating since the weekend when many of the Red Shirts were injured and 23 were killed in clashes with the military.
At least 23 people were killed in deadly police-protester clashes over the weekend, the Bangkok Emergency Medical Service said. More than 850 others were wounded in the clashes, of whom 195 remained hospitalized Wednesday, the service said.
Thai Foreingn Minister Kasit Pirmoya, speaking to a group at University of Maryland, likened former prime minister Thaksin to a terrorist and linked Thaksin to the likes of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin.
People Power Party vs Democrats
The Red Shirts are supporting the People Power Party and calling for quick democratic elections, claiming that the Democrats are in power illegitimately. Thailand's election commission has uncovered evidence of corruption and called for the dissolution of the Democrat Party.
It is a turnabout for the Democrat Party which came to power 2 years ago when the People Power Party was dissolved and senior members banned from holding office for 5 years. Former prime minister Thaksin, in spite of his popularity at the time, was sentenced to prison for abuse of power.
This civil unrest comes at a difficult time for Thailand which is coping with unrest and separatist action in both the far south and along the Thai/Cambodia border.
Tourist revenue is down and travelers are being warned by their governments to be alert and vigilant if they venture to Thailand.