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Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 10:28 UK

Thai voices: 'Action overdue'

Protester throws fire on to burning barricade, Bangkok, 15/05/2010

People in Thailand discuss the impact of ongoing violence in the capital Bangkok and share their thoughts on the nation's future.

Annie Laokwansatitaya, housewife, Bangkok
Annie L. Pongpairoj

We live about 10km away from the main centre area and things are normal here. I want to stress this - Bangkok is big and the danger zone is only a tiny area.

We Thai people are very nice and we've allowed this to continue for too long. The red-shirts have been free to protest, to camp out in the city, to have enough food. We have been too nice for too long.

It was time the government took action. The protesters have weapons. They are armed and they are hurting innocent people.

I've driven past the area and I've seen red-shirt people taking control of one lane, making traffic impossible.

This has nothing to do with the protest, they just wanted to cause trouble.

The people behind this protest are angry people. I don't think they know what they are doing anymore

There are groups on Facebook, to which I belong, calling for international media, like the CNN and the BBC, to report the news more fairly.

They are portraying the red shirts as peaceful protesters. They are not peaceful, what kind of peaceful protesters are armed with weapons and M79s?

They are shooting and they are causing lots of damage to people's property.

The army is now protecting Bangkokians, but it's way overdue. I thought our prime minister is way too lenient - they spilled blood over his house and he did nothing.

The people behind this protest are angry people. I don't think they know what they are doing anymore. They are angry at the elite, yet at the same time they represent the most elitist person (Thaksin).

I am worried, I don't know how this will end. I think there'll be more bloodshed.

Gift, managing director of a trading company, Bangkok

I haven't been to work since Thursday. I live not far from the Victory Monument. I only go to the convenience store to get food. I am afraid to leave the area.

Gift
Gift: I want my normal life back

I can see smoke coming out from the business district. Helicopters were flying around my area for the whole afternoon yesterday.

I want the reds to take the offer from the government and let people go home. The government offered them a road map, they should accept and leave, otherwise more people will be killed.

The situation is very difficult. It's not about whose side you are on. I want my normal life back and since the reds came in the city and took the area, I feel that I am no longer safe when I go out.

I've been feeling unsafe ever since 22 April when there were grenades near my office. I had to keep my eyes on the news, I had to leave the office earlier to avoid huge crowds on the Skytrain, which was disrupted.

And there are millions of us who are in the same situation.

Bangkok used to be a lovely city - we've never had this kind of situation before. People have the right to protest but this is no longer a protest. It is not democracy, it's something else.

If they are fighting for democracy, they should have taken the offer. I can no longer understand what they want and I have the feeling they don't know themselves.

I agree that some action had to be taken, otherwise our government would look weak and and create the impression they are not in control. But for the sake of avoiding more deaths, both sides should stop fighting each other. They should talk.

We are extremely worried and I fear this will go on for some time.

Pongpan Chumjai, journalist for Prachatai.com, Chiang Mai

I work for Prachatai.com, an online newspaper that was blocked by the government after the state of emergency was declared on 8 April. Since then the government has blocked more than 612 political websites critical of the government.

In my opinion, the encamped red-shirts protests that have been going on in Bangkok for the last two months are not unexpected.

It is a consequence of the coup d'etat in September 2006 which ousted Thaksin Shinawatra's government and dissolved two political parties that were heavily supported by the red-shirts.


There is no guarantee that the conflict will not spread to other areas of the country

Even if the government can successfully crack down on the protest at the Ratchaprasong area, there is no guarantee that the conflict will not spread to other areas of the country.

It seems like ending the military crackdown on the protesters and calling for another round of negotiation would be the best way to resolve the conflict.

Chiang Mai province, where I live, is under the state of emergency along with 22 other provinces in the country. It is considered a red-shirt haven. Yesterday, someone threw a homemade grenade into the Krung Thai Bank but no one was injured from the incident.

Although political gatherings are prohibited under the state of emergency, hundreds of red-shirts are still protesting in front of their community radio station in central Chiang Mai.

Protesters and their leaders listen to the speeches by red-shirt leaders both in Chiang Mai and from the protest in Bangkok. The red-shirts here are doing all they can to make their radio station operational in order to listen to the protest in the Ratchaprasong area.

There are a few police officers observing the protest. They do not try to stop the protest. There has not yet been any crackdown, no teargas, or gunshots here. But no one knows what will happen in the future.

Nakorn Susiwa, Prachinburi province
Nakorn Susiwa
Nakorn: I am worried and sad for our country

I am not surprised by what's happened. I expected it. Behind all of this is one man, who is capable of anything to get what he wants.

The red-shirts don't have a leader, there's no other authority other than Thaksin, who can exercise control over them. He wants to destabilise the country and get the government to step down.

Of course I worry about the violence. Those poor people, they don't know anything. They take the money offered by Thaksin and they go out to the streets.

Ninety percent of Thai people don't support him and don't agree with what he is doing.

He wants to destabilise the country and get the government down.

Thaksin can buy everything - power, men, weapons. What he wants is to come back and be the most powerful one.

I think the government is too late to force the protesters out and to stop this terrorism. The best thing would be to involve Thaksin, give him something he will be satisfied with.

I am worried and sad for our country.



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