Late Thursday, the army moved to seal off the Red Shirt encampment in an upscale commercial district of the capital. Some 10,000 protesters, women and children among them, have crammed into the area.
The Red Shirts see Abhisit's government as serving an elite insensitive to the plight of most Thais. The protesters include many supporters of former prime minister Thaksin whose allies won elections in 2007 after his ouster. Two subsequent pro-Thaksin governments were disbanded by court rulings before Abhisit was elected by Parliament.
Making martyrs out of its own citizens will prove very counterproductive for the Thai military and government, both domestically, and internationally.