The Thai military has declared punishment will be enforced on anti-government protesters if they march on Bangkok's central business district, heightening fears of more violence after bloody clashes left 24 people dead a week ago. The demonstrations have evolved from peaceful protests into a dangerous standoff between the army and a rogue military faction that supports the protesters. This coterie includes retired generals associated with fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Red Shirts, supporters of ousted Thaksin, have hinted that they may take their protest to the financial district two blocks away from their main downtown protest base. However, recent comments made on possible talks to take place indicate steps toward more flexible demands. This includes allowing re-elections to take place within three months instead of holding a snap election, as previously insisted upon.
Talks between Abhisit and the protesters fell through last month after two rounds of televised debate, with the red shirts rejecting an offer to dissolve parliament within nine months. Thailand is currently under a state of emergency.
Thai "Red Shirts" Open to Talks to Avert Crackdown [Reuters, 21 Apr 2010]
Thai Protesters Build Barricades and Toy with Talks [BBC News, 21 Apr 2010]