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Thai Protestors Roll On As Government Begs For Peace


On the sixth day of anti-government demonstrations in Thailand, hundreds of protestors broke open the front gate of the army headquarters and forced their way inside. They appealed to the army for support and later withdrew without a fight. Yesterday the current prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of former prime minister and divisive leader Thaksin Shinawatra, survived a no-confidence vote and pleaded with opposition officials for peace. Her requests fell on deaf ears.

So far the latest protests to sweep Thailand have been largely peaceful, but it might not be that way for long. The opposition is encouraged by Yingluck’s failure to push through a sweeping amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return home, and dismissed a corruption conviction against him. They are unlikely to back down, but the Shinawatras are still broadly popular around the country, and stand a good chance of winning the next election.

Meanwhile, the Thai king, who is enormously popular, is getting on in years (his 86th birthday is December 6) and his much less charismatic and popular son is likely to succeed him. The king’s birthday is supposed to be a celebration. This year, with no end to the current protests in sight, things might be a little more tumultuous. Formerly the most stable and economically vibrant country in Southeast Asia, Thailand may be at a dangerous turning point.

[Anti-government protestors wave flags as they parade inside the Thai army headquarters during a protest in Bangkok on November 29, 2013. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.]

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