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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 17:18 UK

Bangkok residents discuss who is to blame for trouble

Pressure is growing on Thailand's government to stand down, after street protests left 21 people dead at the weekend. The head of the Thai army has called for parliament to be dissolved and the country's election commission says Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's party can be charged with misusing donations.

Government and opposition supporters in Bangkok discuss the recent violence, and what lies ahead.

Ekasit Paosila, Bangkok

Ekasit Paosila

The news on the ruling party's illegal donations means parliament may have to be dissolved.

I'm not pleased about this. There is no one better qualified to rule than Prime Minister Abhisit; I support him totally.

I would rather parliament stayed as it is. The red-shirt mob are causing a lot of problems; they behave as if they own Bangkok.

They always claim to be peaceful and say any bomb-throwing or gun-firing etc is done by someone else.

The weekend events were totally unexpected. I think the protesters were expecting rubber bullets, but the soldiers were certainly not prepared to receive live ammunition.

There is talk about a third party being involved. There is video showing men wearing black with their faces covered carrying machine guns. They were firing from the mob, we presume at the soldiers.

Of the 21 people killed, four were soldiers, but many more soldiers are seriously injured in hospital.

At the same time, there may have been some people against the red-shirt mob, who were firing from rooftops.

I think the majority of people in Bangkok are against these red-shirt gatherings, but I don't know how many would come forward to say so. They are typically non-committal.

Daung, Bangkok

My husband and I were at the demonstration on Saturday. I had not supported the red-shirt movement before then.

My husband said the soldier's gun had live rounds because there was no adaptor on the barrel

But after the government shut down the People TV station, we were only seeing the government's side of the story on their own channel, so we went to see what was happening.

It was peaceful for hours before the trouble started. The soldiers had been sweating in the afternoon sun so we gave them some of our water. We were in the front line.

A helicopter dropped the first tear gas at about 1700, then about two hours later they dropped more. Even with a damp cloth over my face it hurt, especially because I wear contact lenses.

At about 1930 the troops started walking forward. My husband saw one soldier who was on the tank unlock an M16 gun. My husband said the weapon had live rounds because there was no adaptor on the barrel.

Some media reports said the red-shirts had guns too, but it's not true. The soldiers started hitting us, my husband was fighting back.

I saw many people lying on the ground, some were bloody, some were in shock from the tear gas. I had to leave when the tear gas got too much.

I didn't join the red-shirt demonstration to support [former Prime Minister] Thaksin; I joined because I don't like the Democracy Party.

I think we should have new elections, but I think the government will try to hold onto power instead.

If the red-shirts choose violence I will not support them any more. We joined them because they are fighting peacefully.

Aekthada Chivakanit, Bangkok

Aekthada Chivakanit

I support the government but I've not joined any rallies so far.

I think the red-shirts are wrong to try to pressurise the government. It's because Thailand is democratic that they even have the rights to demonstrate.

It's widely believed they started the fight by engaging the troops. Apparently they were armed, not like what they were claiming at all.

Bangkok is emptying for the Thai New Year holiday, which will give the government more flexibility, there's less potential for collateral damage

There is a lot of speculation that a third group was involved, that armed men in black were firing into the troops and the red-shirts. But it's hard to get the facts verified, the media here is not good.

I think the government was right to shut down the opposition People TV channel. Even though it's not really fair, I think it might help end this whole standoff more quickly.

Although, I'm not optimistic about short term stability.

Bangkok is starting to empty out for the Thai New Year holiday [13-15 April]. This will give the government and the army more flexibility, they don't need to worry so much about collateral damage.

I just hope everything will get back to normal as fast as possible, and I hope for the best.

Polkrit Thanetjindarat, student, Bangkok

Phonlakrit Thanetchindarat

I have supported the red-shirts for three years and am convinced that they fight for real democracy and not just for Thaksin.

I support them because the government does not support democracy, Thailand is like a military state now.

We would like to see parliament dissolved, and power given back to the people so they can choose their own government by themselves.

Will this happen? I think the government will hold onto power for as long as they can, because they know that if they hold an election, they will lose.

It's like they don't dare to listen to the people's voice.

Press and media are controlled by the government; they say the government and the military is right and they don't report how many people died at the weekend.

I know 21 people died because I saw this on a private TV station, not the government one.

The protesters have the right to protest, but the soldiers have no right to use a gun, even when they're angry. And the government should know not to let them.



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