democracy

The 74-day long mobilisation for democracy that shut down the centre of Bangkok ended when the leaders of the Red Shirts movement surrendered on May 20. The surrender came after the Thai army launched an armoured assault on the capital.

The military used bulldozers and tanks to destroy the Red Shirts’ four-metre high bamboo and tyre barricades.

More than 75 protesters and two soldiers have been killed since the protests began in March. At least one of the soldiers was shot accidentally by another soldier.

A May 17 International Crisis Group report said there were “reasonable grounds to believe the Sri Lankan security forces committed war crimes with top government and military leaders potentially responsible” in the last five months of the 30 year long war against Tamil independence fighters. The report cited the intentional shelling of civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations.

May 17

If the military-backed government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajia dissolved parliament, announced fresh elections and ordered a cease fire, the violence would end immediately and the Red Shirts would all go home.

Since the start of the latest bloody crackdown on May 13, the death toll in Bangkok, as of May 17, is 35, all civilians, except one air force personnel, all killed by the army. If you include the deaths from the April crack down, Abhisit is now responsible for 65 deaths with 1669 injured in order that his military-backed government can stay in power.

It’s another election year and we’re witnessing another round of racist fear-mongering. Along with refugees, Muslims are in the crosshairs once again and the Liberal/National Coalition opposition is trying to grab votes by playing on people's worst instincts.

On May 6, Liberal Senator and parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi called for a ban on the wearing of the burqa, after a case of armed robbery was committed by someone allegedly using the burqa as a disguise.

“The time of big energy was supposed to have faded with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency”, Billy Wharton wrote in a May 12 www.counterpunch.org article.

“Then, a humble Coloradan, with a cowboy hat that seemed permanently affixed to his head, named Ken Salazar ambled to the microphone to accept Obama’s nomination to be the new Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI).”

There are many myths about Cuba that the mainstream media happily reinforces, especially about Cuba’s democratic processes.

Contrary to media assertions, in Cuba there are general elections, the last ones taking place in 2007-08. In these elections, deputies to the parliament (National Assembly of People’s Power) and delegates to the provincial assemblies are elected for a five-year mandate.

The conventional wisdom is that the world has largely survived the great financial crisis. Journalists and economists talk about recovery, while politicians claim to have averted catastrophe.

However, the bailouts of banks and financial stimulus packages that governments used to “solve” the crisis merely turned banks’ debt into public debt. The problem has simply been shifted to the public sphere and potential catastrophe merely delayed.

Since March 14, Bangkok has been paralysed by mass pro-democracy protests. The protesters known as “Red Shirts”, have demanded the resignation of unelected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and new elections. Abhisit came to power in December through the overthrow of a democratically elected government by right-wing “Yellow Shirt” gangs, assisted by the military and elements of the royal family.

Bangkok is bathed in blood, yet again. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit's soldiers have shot dead at least 50 people do far. Hundreds are injured.

The regime says there are 500 “terrorists" in the protest site. Earlier they said that they would use snipers to shoot “terrorists”.

The only terrorists are in the Government, the army and the Palace.

The following statement was released on May 15 by the Socialist Party of Malaysia. Click here to read a statement issued by a number of Asian left groups on in solidarity with the Thai democracy movement.

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The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns Ahbisit's government and the military of Thailand for the latest round of violent assault on pro-democracy Red-Shirt protesters in Bangkok.

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