The Dec. 9 demonstrations that saw more than 100,000 protesters flood the streets of Bangkok represent the latest episode in a long-running saga.
Thailand’s current political turmoil is, sadly, nothing new. Since becoming a democracy in 1932, it has seen 18 attempted or successful coups d’etat, the most recent of which removed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the brother of current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, from power in 2006.
The latest protests were propelled by anger over Yingluck’s push to fast-track an amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return from self-exile. It was an ill-conceived move that drew censure even from those within her own support base, and one that she subsequently had to abandon.