After a week-long occupation of the main Bangkok International Airport by thousands of anti-government protestors, the Thailand Constitutional Courts have dissolved the ruling party and banned the sitting prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, from government for five years.
The anti-government protesters took over the prime minister's office in August and the airport in late November, but it may not be the end of the fighting in Thailand. The ruling People Power Party has said they will form alliances and elect another prime minister by Sunday, effectively keeping Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been kicked out of office before, in power. If this happens the anti-government protesters have vowed to go back to the streets and protest.
Six people have been killed and scores injured in the skirmishes between rival government factions and police. The economy has also taken a big hit and may slow by as much as 1.5 percent.
In this video Jeffrey Brown talks to Brian Joseph of the National Endowment for Democracy, who explains the latest complicated decade of Thai politics.
"In essence, the protesters are a group of people largely from the middle class, from Bangkok, the urban elite, who are opposed to Thaksin." Brian Joseph, The National Endowment for Democracy
"And so this court has become very activist in dismissing governments. The problem is those it dismisses and the people they represent continue to vote surrogates or other people in place of those who had recently been dismissed" Brian Joseph, The National Endowment for Democracy
"It's going to have a huge impact on the economy. Reports are even that it's going to stop -- slow the economy down by 1.5 percent next year." Brian Joseph, The National Endowment for Democracy
1. Take a look at a map, where is Thailand? What countries border it?
2. Can you guess, just by looking at the map, why Thailand is famous?
1. Thousands of people are protesting in the streets in Bangkok, Thailand. Can you think of a time when thousands of people have protested in the United States? What were they protesting?
2. Brian Joseph says that these rival factions are mostly the rural poor against the urban middle class. Do you think that there are similar tensions in the United States? Why or why not? What are the issues?
3. What are some similarities that you see between the United States politics and Thai politics? What are some differences?