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links for 2010-04-07

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
  • "The protests stem from a 2006 military coup that removed Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon turned prime minister, after which the political party he led and a successor party were dissolved by the courts. Mr. Thaksin, who is overseas and has been sentenced in absentia on corruption charges, is still very popular in rural areas.

    In theory, the Democrat Party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva could itself face dissolution if it is found guilty of accepting the illegal donation. Protesters describe it as a test case for the fairness of the system.

    Publicly, the protest leaders, who claim to represent the prai, or lower-class Thais, are maintaining a hard line, demanding that Mr. Abhisit dissolve Parliament and call new elections."

  • "Most analysts doubt authorities will remove the "red shirts" by force — a politically risky decision for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiv as his 16-month-old government struggles to build electoral support outside Bangkok.

    Being seen as a catalyst for violence in what has been a largely peaceful rally could harden opposition against Abhisit in the vote-rich north and northeast, Thaksin strongholds home to just over half of Thailand's 67 million people.

    "He may be facing pressure to break up the rally but he doesn't want that. He knows the use of force and strong measures would be a mistake at this stage," said Nakharin Mektraira, a political scientist at Thammasat University."

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