Summary

  • Throughout March, April and May, 2010, anti-government “red shirt” protesters rallied against the Thai government. The protest ended on May 19, when the army dispersed the demonstrators. Throughout the demonstrations, more than 90 people were killed and thousands were injured.
  • One especially violent episode came on April 10, 2010, when clashes between protesters and troops left at least 18 dead and several hundred wounded. This includes five soldiers and 13 civilians.
  • The “red shirt” demonstrators began rallying in the Thai capital since March 13. Many of the demonstrators, known for the color of their clothing, are working class Thais who come from rural areas.
  • The red shirts wanted Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down because, they said, he represents the interests of Thailand’s elites and came to power only with the backing of the powerful military.
  • Many of the red shirts remain loyal to Thailand’s ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a military coup in Sept., 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile to avoid corruption charges.
  • Abhisit and his coalition offered to dissolve parliament and hold fresh elections at the end of 2010, but red shirt leaders refused the deal.
  • The red shirts occupied two sections of the Thai capital: the Rajadamnoen Rd. area of old Bangkok, and vital Rajaprasong intersection, home to several five star hotels and the city’s major shopping malls.
  • Even before the red shirts took to the streets, Thailand had been struggling with a political crisis that dates back to 2005.
  • This Web site is designed to offer context on this complex situation.

    This page last updated June 7, 2011.

    Image source: Newley Purnell