The death toll in Bangkok’s escalating street battles continues to rise, with at least 35 people now reported killed and 244 others said to be wounded,
The violence has continues to worsen since Thursday’s attempted assassination of the security chief of the Red Shirt protesters, as the government has angrily rejected calls for a ceasefire and talks. With the situation increasingly unstable, the protesters are now raising the prospect that the situation could become a full-on civil war.
Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn insisted that the ceasefire was unwelcome and unnecessary, and insisted that everyone who had been shot by the Thai military during the protests was a “terrorist.”
Yet at least three journalists were among those reported killed in the clashes, and much of Central Bangkok is now considered a “live fire zone” for the military.
Prime Minister Abhisit, the target of much of the protesters’ anger, vowed that the crackdown would continue until all the protests were halted, saying that it was too late for the military to back off.
But while it seems that the military will put down the 10,000 strong Red Shirts, even if it turns the capital city into a warzone, the long term damage appears to have already been done. Thailand’s rural population has sided firmly against Abhisit, and will likely remain so no matter how bad the crackdown gets.