The two-month, sometimes violent standoff in Bangkok is over now, with the Thai military having forcibly dispersed the country’s red-shirted protestors.
The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva managed to stamp out the Red Shirts bold display of resistance, in which they occupied the city’s posh commercial centre and fended off initial military movements against their sizeable encampment.
But the dramatic, days-long conclusion to the standoff brought no resolution to the underlying divisions between the Red Shirts and their supporters, who are typically characterized as representing rural and new-money interests, and their yellow-shirted opponents, who are associated with the traditional Bangkok-led establishment.
Even as the Red Shirt leaders were being rounded-up by authorities, the opposition movement continued to have mass support in most rural areas, and the violence in Bangkok that left at least 88 dead and more than 2,000 injured appears to have only hardened their resolve.
“Before, political conflicts were just between elites, and small groups would sit down to fight it out or to compromise,” observes Puangthong Pawakapan, a professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
This time, she said, “it’s dividing all people and compromise is over.”