BANGKOK — Thailand’s government insisted Sunday a crackdown on Red Shirt protesters will continue despite their plea for U.N-mediated talks to end four days of street clashes with troops that have left 30 people dead.
A pause by the Thai military was unnecessary since troops were “not using weapons to crack down on civilians,” said government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn. The government maintains it is only targeting armed “terrorists” among the demonstrators.
Panitan’s comments dashed hopes of an end to Thailand’s worst political violence in decades, which has spiraled out of control and raised concerns of sustained, widespread chaos in this nation of 65 million people. Thailand is a key U.S. ally and Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.