Jul 01 2011
Like the Red Shirts, the Yellow Shirts are not a political party but rather a political movement and an umbrella grouping for several different positions. Officially called the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the Yellow Shirts became internationally famous when in 2008 they successfully shutdown both of Bangkok’s airports.
Started in 2006 during the coup to oust former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the Yellow Shirts are staunch opponents of Thaksin and accuse him and his politics of being corrupt threats to the nation and the monarchy. With big-wig backers like Thai media-moguls and army generals, the Yellow Shirts are mostly comprised of the Thai elite as well as the middle and upper classes, with strongholds in Bangkok and the south. The Yellow Shirts are also defined as a royalist movement with their yellow shirts acting as a not-so-subtle homage to the King, whose birth date associates him with the colour yellow.
After Thaksin was ousted in 2006, the Yellow Shirts claimed that their work here was done and voluntarily dissolved. However, they came back on the scene in 2008 when a pro-Thaksin government was elected (the airport debacle).
These days, the Yellow Shirt movement is slightly fragmented and disjointed. Many of the Yellow Shirts are unhappy with the current Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, and have been taking to the streets to protest his handling of an ongoing border conflict with Cambodia. Aside from this issue they see him, and all of today’s Thai politicians, as embodiments of corruption and greed.
For this Sunday’s election the PAD has been leading a campaign for a “No Vote”, which in Thailand, where voting is compulsory, is something like choosing “none of the above”. Many of the PAD believe that all the candidates running on July 3rd are corrupt and power hungry, and that what Thailand really needs is a thorough governmental cleanse. Many members of the Yellow Shirts are also supporting the idea of an appointed government for the next three to five years, one that they anticipate will rid Thailand of corruption and get things back on track. Their hope is that by exercising the No Vote on Sunday, the legitimacy of the winner will be contested and the political stability of Thailand will waver.
Plain and simple, what the Yellow Shirts want is governmental shake-up and an end to corruption.
Many thinks to Kip for the photo of the Yellow Shirt protesters. You can see her full Yellow-Shirt photo gallery here.
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