Bangkok is in flames as the counterrevolutionary violence in Thailand reaches a bloody climax. The long-awaited assault by the Thai army has already taken place, and will not cease until every trace of the protest has been wiped out. No-one can be sure of the number of casualties, but the final figure will certainly be more than what the authorities have admitted to so far. It seems that some Red Shirts have responded by setting fire to banks, shopping malls and other buildings in the city, and there are reports that protests and violence is erupting in other parts of the city.

The dramatic events unfolding in Thailand – with 21 people killed by the army in the last few days – highlight the weakness of the present regime and the power of the mass movement. It is an indication of the impact of the present worldwide crisis of capitalism on this South East Asian country.

What is going on in Thailand? What do the yellow and red shirt movements represent? Leaders of the Red Shirts have been pressurising Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down and call elections after weeks of protests that have shaken the country. Here our correspondent gives some background information to the conflict presently unfolding in the country.

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