UCL International Public Affairs Society

Panel Discussion: Understanding Thailand’s Political Turmoil


  • Dr. Tim Forsyth, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Associate Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn, exiled Thai Scholar and Political Activist
  • Dr. Lee Jones, Department of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London

Moderator: Kanokrat Lertchoosakul, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Time: Thursday 27 May 2010, Time: 5.00-7.00pm

Venue: Council Room, School of Public Policy, University College London, The Rubin Building, 29/30 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9QU

Thailand has captured international media attention since September 2006 after the military coup d’état deposed a democratically elected government of PM Thaksin Shinnawatra. The situation in this second largest economy in Southeast Asia hit the headlines again after a demonstration beginning in March by the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), also known as the “Red Shirts”. Their demand is for the military-backed Democrat Party to dissolve the parliament and call for a fresh election.

Despite a call from Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, for the two sides to restrain and return to the negotiation table, the government response has been a bloody crackdown. Since 10 April, the government’s tactics has claimed the lives of at least 70 protesters including journalists, health workers, 5 soldiers, and thousands of people injured. On 19 May 2010, the UDD protesters called off their demonstration to prevent the further loss of life, while large numbers of regular protesters have spread around Thailand setting fire to provincial government halls, banks, and government related facilities as revenge for the large amount of deaths on the protesters’ sides. The government has declared a state of emergency and curfew in 24 out of 76 provinces in the country and has imposed a curfew for the evening.

Please join us in a panel discussion with experts on Thai politics to find out what the future will be for this country, dubbed by tourists as the “Land of Smiles”. What will be the way out? What are the roles of the political elites in this conflict? Is it because of the class divide? And what is the international dimension to the situation in Thailand?

Video footage of the events will be shown prior to the discussion.

All are Welcome!

Seats are limited. Entry is on a first come first serve basis.

For more information, please contact [email protected]