Thailand’s Red Shirts Struggle to Survive

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The country’s military continues to build an overwhelming surveillance machine

To prevent protesters unleashing another urban insurrection, new CCTV cameras will eyeball the Bangkok streets where 90 people died, most of them civilians, and 1,400 were injured when the military battled Red Shirts and crushed their bamboo barricades in May.

Thailand’s army-backed government is now wielding overwhelming surveillance, imprisonment, censorship and other “state of emergency” powers across much of this Buddhist-majority Southeast Asian nation. The United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, commonly known as the Red Shirts, acknowledge that they have been strangled and are struggling to stay alive. Thousands of cameras are to be installed all over Bangkok, making it probably the most heavily surveilled city in Asia.

There appears to be little sign of the government’s so-called five-point national reconciliation road map announced by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on June 20 and designed to tackle the economic, social and political issues that have played havoc with the country since the ouster of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a royalist-backed military coup in 2006.

“Basically, we as an organization, we do not exist,” Sean Boonpracong, the Red Shirts’ international spokesman, told Asia Sentinel.

Asia Sentinel


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