Thais in NYC React to Violence in Bangkok

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A red shirt supporter holding a national flag walks past a burning bus on April 13, 2009

Reported by Oates Ritthichai

The clashes between protesters and the Thai military on the street of Bangkok has left two dead and hundreds injured. Anti-government protesters, known as the "red shirts," vowed to fight until Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned and called for a new election. The "red shirts" support ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Meanwhile, the royalist "yellow shirts," who support the current government, watched on warily. News of violence worries many Thais in New York, who are monitoring the situation cautiously.

Nattavut Trivisvavet, a 28-year-old financial analyst, says he has grown tired of the ongoing political crisis between the pro-government yellow shirts and the red shirt protesters.

“The yellow shirts closed the airport last November and caused a huge headache,” he said. “And now the red shirts are taking to the streets.”

Yellow shirt protesters surround a policeman trying to force them out after entering the grounds of the Government House in August 2008

Raweewan Eiamsirithanakorn, 29, is a yellow shirt supporter and she is worried about her family’s safety. The chaos, she said, will create bad impression of Thailand, which relies heavily on tourism revenue.

A former red shirt supporter, Yeowapa Krueya, 37, says that her family is torn about the current crisis. Her mother agrees with the yellow shirts’ ideas, while her sister is pro red shirts.

“I don’t know which I side I’m on now.”