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Unrest likely to continue

What comes next? While the red shirts have been dispersed from central Bangkok, and while life in Bangkok has mostly returned to normal, the red shirt movement continues.

world Updated: May 27, 2010 23:58 IST

What comes next? While the red shirts have been dispersed from central Bangkok, and while life in Bangkok has mostly returned to normal, the red shirt movement continues.

It is unclear whether red shirt protesters will gather again for demonstrations in the coming months. Their leaders have been detained, but ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is still living abroad and, the government says, funding the red shirt uprising.

During a negotiation process between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and red shirt leaders, the government offered a political roadmap that included an offer of new elections in November. For several days, it appeared that the red shirts would accept this proposal, but the government says that Thaksin ultimately scuttled a deal. Red shirt leaders rejected the proposal, holding out for immediate elections, and the army eventually moved to break up the rally.

It is unlikely that elections will now be held in November. Some analysts have predicted that it will take substantial time for the red shirt movement to regroup and plan additional rallies.

What is clear, however, is that red shirts say their grievances have not been addressed. Future unrest seems likely. And although the government says it will do its best to reconcile with disgruntled voters, the Abhisit administration has taken a hard line against Thaksin.

Most recently, it has branded him a terrorist, and is reaching out to the international community to try to arrange for his extradition.