Minor clash, strong message

Minor clash, strong message

The clash between yellow-shirt and red-shirt supporters on Tuesday underlines how fragile the political situation remains as the country searches for reconciliation in the post-coup era.

The confrontation, which culminated in a clash, appeared to be intentional. Both sides used their social media to advise their members for days about a scheduled meeting between a lawyer of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and  Crime Suppression Division (CSD) officers on a defamation case.

The lawyer represents a former female teacher and yellow-shirt member who accused red-shirt key member Darunee Kritbunyalai of defaming the royal institution last month.

He only wanted to talk to the CSD police before the teacher is  summoned for questioning on Friday. Police have now rescheduled the session for Oct 29 in the wake of the clash.

The clash did not spread outside the immediate area, outside the CSD on Pahon Yothin Road, but it is a clear indication that despite efforts to heal the rift, it is far from over.

"The situation was contained, but what will happen if the situation goes out of control next time,'' said Thawee Surarittikul, a political analyst at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.

"Both sides are waiting for an issue which could be a trigger point leading to a bigger protest," he said.

Many issues remain untackled, even before the bloody street rallies by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) in 2010, including calls for justice by the red-shirts charged over the deaths and other violence during the prolonged demonstration. The yellow-shirt are also closely watching the way the government handles the UDD key figures facing criminal charges.

"Any controversial or sensitive issue picked up on by either side could possibly spark a `swarming effect','' Mr Thawee said.

Saritdet Marukatat

Digital Media News Editor

He is Bangkok Post's Online Editor and is in charge of all online content.

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