Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Divided Thailand faces warnings of civil war

25 February 2014, 17:21

Bangkok - Thailand risks sliding into civil war after a wave of political violence in which 22 people have been killed, officials warned on Tuesday as the unrest claimed the life of a fourth child.

Near-daily gun and grenade attacks in protest-hit Bangkok have raised concerns that a nearly four-month-old political crisis is entering a dangerous new phase with both sides refusing to back down.

More than 700 people have been wounded since demonstrators took to the streets for rolling rallies aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and ending the political dominance of her billionaire family.

A five-year-old girl died of her wounds on Tuesday after gunmen sprayed bullets at an opposition rally in eastern Thailand over the weekend - the second child killed in the attack.

On Sunday a four-year-old boy and his sister, aged 6, were among three victims killed by a grenade blast at a protest site in an upscale Bangkok shopping district.

The head of Thailand's equivalent of the FBI warned on Tuesday that the situation may "escalate into civil war".

Country risks ‘collapse’

Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith urged "restraint and patience" on both sides of the political divide, during a televised address by officials handling the security response to the crisis.

His comments echoed a similar warning from the head of the coup-prone army.

"Absolutely, there will be civil war if all sides do not respect rules," General Prayut Chan-O-Cha wrote in an SMS to AFP.

"The military will do everything for the country and the people... not for a particular side," he added.

Protest and government leaders bear "responsibility for the losses", Prayut wrote, a day after warning in a rare televised speech that the country risks "collapse" unless it pulls back from the brink.

Government supporters have accused opposition demonstrators of trying to incite the military to seize power, in a country which has seen 18 successful or attempted coups since 1932, but so far the army has remained largely above the fray.

Thailand has been bitterly divided since a bloodless coup by the military in 2006 ousted Yingluck's elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, as prime minister, unleashing years of political instability.

The latest unrest is the deadliest since more than 90 people died during protests by pro-Thaksin "Red Shirts" in 2010 that sparked street clashes and a bloody military crackdown.

Concerns are mounting that the Red Shirts could return to the streets of Bangkok to defend the government, bringing the risk of clashes between rival protesters.

Gunfire rang out early on Tuesday near a rally camp in a Bangkok park occupied by demonstrators.

Two people were slightly wounded, officials said. A rally spokesperson said that gunmen had attacked the camp but it was not possible to verify his account.

Reds to mobilise

The Red Shirts, mainly drawn from the rural north and north-eastern provinces, have held back from demonstrations in the capital since November when several people died after clashes broke out near one of their rallies at a stadium in Bangkok.

They have stepped up their rhetoric in recent days as Yingluck comes under growing pressure.

"We must be ready to come to Bangkok within 24 hours for one purpose... to protect democracy," senior Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Reds will stage rallies over the coming weekends in the northeast as a show of strength, he added.

Yingluck has been summoned by an anti-corruption panel to hear neglect of duty charges on Thursday that could lead to her removal from office, although it is unclear if she will personally attend the hearing.

The opposition says the Shinawatra family and its allies, who have won every election for more than a decade, have fostered widespread corruption and used taxpayers' money to buy the loyalty of rural voters.

The demonstrators accuse Thaksin of running the country by proxy while living in self-exile to avoid jail for a corruption conviction.

Protest leaders want to install an unelected "people's council" to reform the country before new elections are held in around a year to 18 months.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for a series of violent incidents, sometimes involving shadowy gunmen armed with semi-automatic weapons. The authorities and the protesters blame each other for the attacks.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...