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Thailand on the Precipice

BANGKOK – The two-month siege of downtown Bangkok by the so-called “Red Shirts” has ended in bloodshed. More than 60 people, including two foreign reporters and a few soldiers, died in the Thai army’s suppression of the urban rebellion.

The Thai government had no choice but to use force after negotiations with the protestors broke down. Both sides deeply mistrusted the other, even though the government’s five-point “road map” for a peaceful resolution implicitly acknowledged the existence of serious socioeconomic problems and included an early general election this November – a concession to the protestors, who argue that the government lacks legitimacy because it was never elected.