In 2008, I visited Bangkok, Thailand, when the then incumbent prime minister declared State of Emergency, the political breakdown of Thaksin Government occurred 2 years before.
The Yellow shirts, or Anti-Thaksin supporters quickly set up protests around the Central Government region and called for the return of Thaksin (who fled to London) to face legal arrest for corruption.
Around Feb, 2006, Prime Minister Thaksin was ousted due to his sales of Shin Corporation (Shin Corp) a leading Thai telecommunications company to Singapore’s government affiliated Temasek Company. The Thais mainly middle and upper class citizens were upset that Thakin family had pocketed billions of dollars from the sale without paying the appropriate taxes for it. Come 2008, the controversy went on with Thai law regarding foreign investments in the telecom sector had been amended just prior to the sale. The resulting political turmoil forced Thaksin government to order the dissolution of the Lower House and a puppet government affiliated with Thakin was put in power, much to the Thais dissatisfaction. When the government had called for the non-taxation of Shin Corp’s sale, the Yellow shirts had quickly organised an anti-government campaign, calling for the return of Thaksin to be trialed for corruption.
Present day 2010 Thailand seems to have turned 360, with the Red Shirts, Pro Thaksin Supporters (mainly rural regions) calling for the return of Thaksin and for the new re-elections and claiming the incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva election was illegitimate.
I can’t comment on Thai politics as I am not living there, am neither a supporter or against any governments. The Yellow shirt demonstration back in 2008 seemed more like a carnival event than a political demonstration. However it was quite interesting to note that local businesses were supporting the anti-corruption stance against the former Thaksin government by offering the protestors with food, lodging and other amenities instead of larger political parties.
I wonder what are the political motivations for the Red shirts this time, who is financially supporting these anti-government supporters? And why don’t the Thais learn from previous mistakes?