According to “The Economist”, Thailand’s protests are just the latest round in a battle between the northern red shirts and an ultraroyalist establishment that controls much of the capital and the southern provinces.

Mr Suthep launched his crusade three months ago, at the time of the government’s cack-handed attempt to force through a bill granting Mr Thaksin amnesty for convictions for corruption and abuse of power.

In reality, Mr Suthep’s protests are just the latest round in an increasingly bitter struggle for the political soul of the country, between the northern red shirts and an ultraroyalist establishment that controls much of the capital and the southern provinces.

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The struggle is turning ugly again, and risks splitting the country in two. At least nine have died as men of violence creep on to the stage with sniper rifles and bombs. Each side blames the other for these shadowy provocateurs. On January 21st Ms Yingluck declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and its surrounding districts.

Although the red shirts will dutifully vote on February 2nd, they are mostly focused on how they might protect their government, and Ms Yingluck, from the coup that they are all expecting. A coup might be a military one, under the pretext of stopping violence escalating in Bangkok. Or it might be a judicial one, with the courts barring Pheu Thai politicians from taking office because of alleged offences against the constitution. Both have happened before, and the red shirts see both the army and the courts as tools of the Bangkok political establishment.

via Political crisis in Thailand: You go your way, I’ll go mine | The Economist.

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