Catapults and fireworks against bullets. It is an unequal struggle in the Thai capital Bangkok. Fighting has spread after three days of clashes, described as “intense” in some places, between the opposition and the army. It has left at least 22 people dead, and worse could be to follow.
The protesters are camped out in an area of three and a half square kilometres, and the army has been pushing on the edges of this zone in an attempt to split it, and seal the protesters inside.
However, they continue to ignore the official order to disperse, and the army seems unable or unwilling to break the demonstration up, only to contain it.
It is the country’s worst political crisis in 18 years, which is squeezing Southeast Asia’s number two economy, scaring away tourists, and choking investment in one of the world’s most promising developing markets.
The two-month long crisis took a turn for the worse after an army general allied with the protesters was shot on Thursday.