In the past few days, conservative "Yellow Shirt" anti-government protestors have begun occupying ministries in and around Bangkok. Many outside of Thailand don't know much about who these protestors are, what they want or the political context in which they operate.
Below, I've reposted a quick, acerbic and straightforward article from Thai Red Socialist, the website of Giles Ji Ungpakorn. Formerly a professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, he was forced to go into exile in 2009 after being charged with "Lèse Majesté" (insulting the king) for opposing the Yellow Shirt military coup in 2006. He is founder of "Turn Left," Thailand, a supporter of the socialist "Red Siam" faction within the Red Shirt (UDD) movement, and a member of the British SWP.
This article does not include a chronology of recent political events in Thailand, but it refers to a few important touchstones that the reader will need to know: The 2006 "Yellow Shirt" military/royalist coup against the elected populist prime minister (and telecom billionaire) Thaksin Shinawatra. The 2010 "Red Shirt" protests, in which the urban and rural poor occupied a central shopping district in Bangkok for about a month before being violently ousted by the military. And the 2011 election of Yingluck Shinawatra (Thaksin's sister) after the legalization of the Pheu Thai party (the third incarnation of Thaksin's original political party).
Over the next week, I'll try to post a few articles that detail some of this history and explain more of the complexities of Thai politics.
Who are the Thai anti-government protesters and what do they stand for?
Thousands of crazed middle-class royalists, led by the notorious blood-stained Democrat Party have been demonstrating in an attempt to get rid of the Government and all of former Prime Minister Taksin’s influence in politics. They hope the military will help them do this. They have been occupying government buildings and blocking roads.