The Straits Times
Published on Nov 27, 2012

Thai 'Red Shirt' protest leaders to go on trial for terrorism


BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai leaders of "Red Shirt" opposition protests that rocked Bangkok in 2010 are set to stand trial on Thursday for terrorism, in a case that risks inflaming the kingdom's political tensions.

The 24 accused, who include five current lawmakers, could in theory face the death penalty for their roles in the demonstrations, which at their height drew around 100,000 people, mostly supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

About 90 people were killed and nearly 1,900 were wounded in a series of street clashes between demonstrators and security forces, which culminated in a bloody military crackdown. Two foreign journalists were among those killed.

The Reds were demanding immediate elections, accusing the previous government of being undemocratic because it took office in 2008 through a parliamentary vote, after a court stripped Thaksin's allies of power.