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Thailand Headed for a Violent Ending

by Joshua Kurlantzick
February 27, 2014

Thayakorn Yosubon, the father of a pair of siblings killed in Sunday's bomb blast near an anti-government protest site, mourns as he hold a photograph of his children during their funeral at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok on February 24, 2014. (Athit Perawongmetha/Courtesy Reuters) Thayakorn Yosubon, the father of a pair of siblings killed in Sunday's bomb blast near an anti-government protest site, mourns as he hold a photograph of his children during their funeral at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok on February 24, 2014. (Athit Perawongmetha/Courtesy Reuters)

Clashes in Thailand between anti-government protestors and security forces have intensified. This past weekend, unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at anti-government protestors in eastern Thailand and killed a five-year-old girl, and someone apparently launched two grenade attacks in Bangkok. Since this current round of demonstrations started last November, 21 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Thailand. The country has basically functioned without an effective government now for months, the once-teflon economy is sputtering, and Thais are preparing for the violence to get worse.

Although Thailand’s cycle of political instability seems to have gone on forever—the genesis of the unrest dates back roughly a decade—this current round of chaos in Bangkok is likely to end soon. None of the cycles of protest and counter-protest have ended in solutions that actually resolved Thailand’s class and regional divides; instead the protests resulted in temporary fixes that only emboldened the other side to fight harder. Worse, none of the cycles of protest during the past decade have ended without serious violence.

To read more on my predictions for how this round of violence will end, read here.

 

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