The crisis in Thailand is very serious, says Johannes Schmidt who is an Associate Professor of International Politics at the University of Aalborg in Denmark. According to him, one solution to the problem is a new election for the parliament but if that does not happen, Thailand runs a risk of civil war with unpredictable consequences.
“The clearing of the Red Shirt camp in Bangkok is only of a symbolic value. It is no solution. The violence escalates and there is a risk that it might get worse,” Johannes Schmidt says.
Misjudging the government
He does not believe that the government has achieved anything at all by clearing the Red Shirt camp in central Bangkok.
“The protesters’ camp was a symbol – a symbol of the great political unrest that exists in the country and the dissatisfaction of the poor. There is still a great lack of social equality,” he says.
He believes that the government and the army misjudged the situation when the Red Shirts came to the city and set up their protest camp.
Demands to the Prime Minister
“The government did not understand how much support the Reds had and still have. Half the population sympathises with them,” he says and predicts that the coming days with be critical to the development.
If Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva follows a negotiation proposal that the government and the Red Shirts were close to accepting a couple of weeks ago, as well as promises to step down from his position, dissolves parliament, and announces new elections in the fall, the crisis can be prevented and the situation will be normalized.
The chances of normalization will be further strengthened if the leaders of the Red Shirts are granted amnesty. The chances will be even greater if the previous Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will also be granted amnesty.
Does not rule out military coup
Johannes Schmidt evaluates that the military will also accept such a solution. He doubts that a military coup will take place, although he does not want to rule out the scenario.
“The military is torn. Parts of it sympathize with the Red Shirts, and besides, large parts of the police force also support the Reds,” he says.
“But it is difficult to predict what will happen. Everything is complicated by the fact that none of the parties agree internally. There are people seeking compromise in both camps, just like there are people who are ready to fight hard with their opponents,” he says.