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Country Watch

General Ban Ki-moon, has publicly condemned the violence that had been associated with the protests. One such clash between protestors and Thai police resulted in the deaths of five people, including one police officer who died from a gun- shot wound to the head. The attack resulted in injuries to approximately 75 people. Two other attacks took place about a week prior to the re- run elections, when an unknown group attacked protestors at two separate anti-government ral- lies. Four people, including three children ages four, five, and six, died and over 50 people were wounded. The exact identity of the attackers is unknown. Shinawatra condemned the actions of the attackers and stated that her government “will not tolerate terrorism” and will actively prosecute those involved.

Following the attacks on protestors, two interest- ing things have happened. First, the protestors attempted to scale back their presence in Bang- kok following the recent bouts of violence. Anti- government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban confirmed that the protestors had moved to a park located in downtown Bangkok, and would no longer be blocking streets and intersections in the city. Suthep clarified, though, that the protes- tor’s smaller presence does not mean that they are giving up their fight. Second, protesters be- gan entering government buildings. On March 12, protestors entered the Department of Special Investigations, a major government building, and forced the evacuation of Department employees. Two days earlier, protestors had occupied two other government ministries. Suthep has stated his intention to continue protests until the power is “in the hands of the people,” and has stated that the protestors “will not give up even if the prime minister resigns or dissolves parliament.” There is no guarantee that future street protests will re- main peaceful.

The Thai military has stated that it will not in- tervene in the crisis, despite calls from many in Thailand and in the international arena to stop the

violence. General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, chief of the Thai army, expressed his concerns that use of full military force would provide no guarantee of an end to the protests. Gen. Chan-Ocha also ex- pressed reservations about using “weapons and forces against our own Thai [people].” Instead, he believes that the people of Thailand should trust that Thailand’s laws and constitution will provide an effective solution to end the situation.

There does not seem to be any indication that pro- tests will stop any time soon. The results of the election will not be announced until polling has been completed in all constituencies; currently, the deadline for re-run polling is in April. Shinawa- tra is expected to win the re-run elections, though, which could only exacerbate the protests.

* Submitted by Rachel Catlett

Violence in the Central African Republic Approaches Genocide

On January 27, 2014, Navi Pillay, the United Na- tions High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that the internal sectarian conflict in the Central African Republic had reached a critical juncture. Clashes between ex-Séléka rebel groups and the anti-Balaka coalition had resulted in civilian casualties in Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic. Widespread rioting, rampaging, and looting forced ex-Séléka and Muslim civilians from their homes.

The conflict dates back to 2004, during the Central African Republic Bush War, when the Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), led by Michel Djotodia rebelled against then-President François Bozizé’s regime. The rebellion escalated quickly, prompting the UFDR to fight concurrently with other coalition groups. In 2007, the UFDR reached a peace agree- ment; in 2008, a unity government was formed; in 2009, local elections were held; and in 2010, par- liamentary and presidential elections were held. However, Bozizé remained in power, and in 2012,

ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 4 » May 2014


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