It may not be international news for most Americans, but with reports of over 100,000 tourists stranded in Thailand due to protests at Bangkok’s international airport, the point is being made that Thais are tired of corruption at the national level to the international community.
Unfortunately for the protesters, it seems like their message is not getting out in a cohesive way. Lots of issues are at stake in these protests (which have actually been going on since August)–country versus city dwellers, rich versus poor, corrupt autocracy versus fractured democracy versus benevolent rule. Actually, these are not all mutually exclusive (i.e. “versus”) but are trying to be rectified by a peaceful revolution by the people.
So what is the message? Who are the leaders to speak with inside the PAD? Symbolism is in the yellow shirts, to represent the benevolence of and loyalty to the King who has done only good for the country but has not directly intervened in the day-to-day politics of running the country. In place has been the ruling-class political populism of former PM Thaksin whose ouster has led to his brother-in-law to become the current PM. Unfortunately, the middle-class in Thailand is so diminished that, without it, this may become a class war between the poor who are supported by the current corrupt government and the middle and upper classes who have different power centers and ideas of democratic rule.