Thailand's pro-government People's Alliance for Democracy Network [party website, in Thai; BBC backgrounder], known as "yellow shirts," called Monday for a declaration of martial law to quell the anti-government movement spearheaded by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship [party website, in Thai], or "red shirts." The statement comes after over a month of conflict in Bangkok [JURIST news archive] that has left more than 25 dead and nearly 1,000 injured in connection with increasingly violent anti-government protests. After an attack Sunday on a former premier's home left 11 people injured, the reds dug into their fortified bunker in Bangkok in anticipation of government retaliation. Yellow shirt representatives have said that if the government will not crack down on the reds, the group is prepared to take action itself.
Last week, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [official website; BBC profile] announced that he is prepared to negotiate with red shirt protesters once they cease their illegal conduct. Thai courts have recently issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for several high-profile protesters, including high-ranking officials of the red shirt opposition, in connection with violent protests and an alleged break-in at Parliament [Bangkok Post report]. Internal divisions have been mounting steadily in Thailand since the 2006 ouster [JURIST report] of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], whose progressive policies engendered the support of the poor rural class that largely constitutes the reds today. The yellows, primarily consisting of the urban middle-class, considered Shinawatra, and as well as the reds, disloyal to the monarchy. Because of the mounting violence, Abhisit has imposed a state of emergency [JURIST report] in Bangkok and neighboring provinces.