After a day of violence in which two people died, all was calm at Government House in Bangkok early this morning.
But a tense stand-off is continuing in the capital between Thai troops and protesters loyal to exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The state of emergency declared by the man currently in the job did nothing to prevent unrest earlier, which raised fears of fresh violence. But, during the night, security forces encircled demonstrators, including women, children and a few Buddhist monks, who are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Refusing to negotiate with Thaksin, the protesters’ figurehead, Abhisit has said this is a “do-or-die” moment for the rule of law. Thailand has been mired in turmoil since the military toppled Thaksin in a coup in 2006. The unrest confronts British-born Abhisit with his biggest challenge since he took office in December. As well as claiming two lives, Monday’s clashes also left at least 113 people injured.