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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 16:47 UK

Thai voices: "Divisions too big to heal''

Three Bangkok residents describe growing tension in the city and pessimism about a peaceful way out of the conflict.

Hatairat Rueangkunarom, red-shirt supporter, Bangkok
Hatairat Rueangkunarom

Last night there were five explosions around Silom Road. Until now we haven't established who's behind them.

My red-shirt friends, especially the old men, couldn't sleep. We worry about the government's accusations that bombs came from the midst of the red-shirts.

If anything - we are the ones who are being attacked. Yesterday I saw a man, a taxi driver who was wearing red clothes. He was attacked by two people - probably supporters of the multi-coloured group. This is not the first such incident but the newspapers are not interested in covering it. It hurt my heart to see it.

I love my king and I'd do everything to protect democracy

The government is in full control of the mass media. They closed a TV station and a website. How authoritarian!

I work as a purchasing manager during the day, but I spend all my free time helping other members of the red-shirt family. Yes, they are all my family.

Sometimes I can't be there physically at Ratchaprasong Road because my home is quite far from there. But then I spend lots of time on the internet trying to share information with other supporters who live in remote provinces.

The only news they get comes from TV, which tells lies. We talk and I update them on what's happening in Ratchaprasong. I also spread the information about who needs what - food, medicine, water.

I love my king and I'd do everything to protect democracy.

Teeranai Charuvastra, student, Bangkok
Teeranai Charuvastra

I'm baffled by the attacks. I visited Silom Road myself just two days ago and witnessed the heavy presence of troops in the area. The district was packed with soldiers.

I remember thinking what could possibly go wrong. Many people are wondering how these attacks could have taken place right in the most heavily guarded area of the capital.

We just don't know who's behind it and right now all kinds of rumours are circulating.

Everyone's saying that there's a rift within the army. We all know that the army chief is retiring soon and who knows - there might be a change of command happening right now.

I agree with the red-shirts' demands, but I don't agree with their tactics - to hold our city hostage

The prevailing mood is that of fear. We are afraid of the yellow-shirts. Some of them were injured last night and there might be retaliations.

We are more afraid of the yellows than the reds. They are very aggressive towards the reds and I still remember the violent clash between those two a couple of years ago.

The reds too are becoming more and more provocative.

Why did they have to stage their protests right in the heart of the business district? Did they want to provoke some violence?

Stand-off between protesters and the army. Photo: Jona Kompa
Red-shirt stand-off. Photo: Jona Kompa

People in Bangkok are annoyed with the protests. The department stores are closed, traffic is chaotic, the sky train is affected.

We are afraid to go out at night. A friend of mine cancelled her birthday party because no-one would come out.

There are rumours about an army crackdown on protesters. You just don't want to be in the middle when that happens.

There have also been reports about people being harassed and attacked for wearing the "wrong'=" colours. I avoid wearing red and yellow colours these days. It's funny - people take colours so seriously here.

I agree with the red-shirts' demands, but I don't agree with their tactics - to hold our city hostage.

The divisions right now are so apparent. You can't imagine the disgust the urban middle classes feel towards the rural northerners.

You make an innocent remark that it's been quiet today and you get asked: Are you red or yellow? You meet someone for the first time - Are you red or yellow?

Families are being divided because of allegiances. People are worried about what will happen. The division among the Thai society may be too big to heal.

Amu, Bangkok resident

I work near the business district. I was home when last night's explosions happened. What I saw was reds and the other groups hurling bottles, stones and abuses at each other.

What is happening right now - it's a recipe for civil war

The situation has become much more tense. It seems it's the leaders of the reds who are instigating the whole thing.

What makes me sick is they say it's peaceful and it's not so peaceful anymore. Everyone sees that many reds are violent and aggressive. They cannot listen to those who have a different opinion.

There are now many different groups emerging and it is no longer just about politics. One of the new groups, which calls itself the Silom group after the name of the business district, are people who make a living there by selling things on the sidewalks.

Bangkok protests
Jeffrey Lane sent us this photo of Red-shirts in Bangkok

These people don't want the reds camping in the area and preventing them from earning a living.

There's also the multi-coloured group, which came into existence about three weeks ago. These are people who disagree with the reds' demands for dissolution of parliament. It all started on Facebook.

There are many people without colour, just ordinary people, who don't want to have these protests anymore.

There is so much hatred between the different groups, so much division. I don't see things calming down by themselves. There'll be more violence. What is happening right now - it's a recipe for civil war.



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