Sat, May 29, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Thai military eye northern Red Shirts


Thai military and police increased their surveillance yesterday of people in the country’s north suspected to be allied with protesters who paralyzed Bangkok with demonstrations that led to violence, fearing further outbreaks in the provinces.

Intelligence officials have information suggesting protesters have moved underground and could be planning violent retaliation in their strongholds, which are in the north and northeast of the country, assistant army spokeswoman Lieutenant Siriya Khuengsirikul said.

Siriya said the army is confident it can stop any outbreaks of renewed violence, and that the increased military watch was a precautionary measure.

The Red Shirt protesters, mostly members of the urban and rural poor who support ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, held two months of protests in the heart of Bangkok that turned into riots and left at least 88 dead and more than 1,000 injured.

Their demonstration was dispersed last week in a military crackdown in which soldiers fired on them, used armored vehicles to knock down their bamboo-and-tire barricades and forced them to retreat from Bangkok’s main commercial center.

Most of the Red Shirt leaders were detained or submitted to questioning, but the movement itself was not disbanded and was expected to regroup in its provincial strongholds.

Even so, a crisis panel recommended the situation had calmed down enough in Bangkokl for a nighttime curfew to be lifted today.

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