In a stunning turn of events today in Thailand, riot police yielded to the peaceful protesters they were ordered to harass and block. They police removed barricades and their helmets as a sign of solidarity.
The protesters explain that their goal is to destroy the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is accused of widespread corruption and abuse of power. Thaksin’s sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, is currently in power, and is seen as a puppet of her brother.
Suthep Thaugsuban, the leader of the widespread protests that have been going on in Thailand, told his supporters to storm the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau. This was one of the primary buildings they vowed to take over in their plan to topple the Shinawatra government.
The move by police has surprised many, and marks a turning point in the protests and a potential shift in power.
This is not to suggest that the replacements the protestors have in mind are good or bad (think Egypt). Instead, it is a commentary only to note that the public gesture of laying down arms, shields, helmets and the like is a positive move between police and protestors that is unheard of in the West.
Watch the video below, and let us know what you think: could something like this even happen in Europe? In the United States?
(Article by Isa Abu Jamal; image via the Associated Press)