Battle in Bangkok!

Today the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has taken over the government office at the Don Mueang airport. There they clashed with the pro-government United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). The PAD also crowded armed forces headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road in order to block a Cabinet meeting scheduled to take place there tomorrow.

The citywide protest's goal is to overthrow the People’s Power Party government, which won the election in December 2007. The PPP was the Thai Rak Thai party before Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was removed. The TRT party was extremely popular because of its populist initiatives. The elite felt threatened and removed Thaksin in 2006 with a military coup. Thaksin was later charged with corruption and is now avoiding prosecution outside the country.

The PAD believes that the PPP is controlled by Thaksin. The PPP is currently led by Thaksin's brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawat. The PAD is a pro-royal, anti-Thaksin group that believes these protests will cause the military to take control back from the PPP.

Last night the PAD also crowded the main airport, Suvarnabhumi, which is a regional hub, effectively stopping all flights, backing up travel throughout South Asia and Australia. The PAD wanted to block Prime Minister Somchai from returning from the APEC summit in Peru. You know, the summit where Bush and all other participants had to wear those brown ponchos?

The Thai military, who were responsible for the 2006 coup d'état, have stated unequivocally that they will not allow another coup to take place. Fortunately, the military has pledged that there will be no bloodshed, which is good because in the recent history of Thailand, uprisings have been met with deadly force. Being pro-royal is a good thing if you don't wanna get killed in Thailand.

I hope the democratically elected government can weather this backlash and retain control. They won the election; they deserve to be in control. The only solution may be for the king of Thailand to come out and persuade his loyal followers to support the elected government. This bad press could really hurt the Thai economy, especially in these rough times.

I have confidence in the Thai people, that they will work this out. I also discourage anyone from changing their plans to go there. It is an excellent place to visit and live. Just wait until this conflict is resolved before going.