Mixed Signals to Possible Ceasefire Deal

After a relatively quiet night, apart from a few sporadic clashes, in Bangkok there were signs that might bring both sides back to the negotiation table.

Red-shirt leaders had earlier accepted the offer of fresh talks to be overseen by members of the Senate. (…) The offer to mediate talks came from the head of Thailand’s Senate.

The offer to mediate talks came from the head of Thailand’s Senate, Prasobsuk Boondej.

Red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikua told journalists that the protesters backed the proposal because “if we allow things to go on like this, we don’t know how many more lives will be lost”.

Mr Prasobsuk said exploratory talks had yielded positive results, although his offer to mediate had earlier been publicly rejected by the government.

He has apparently met the prime minister twice to discuss the issue, says the BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Bangkok. And on Tuesday met red-shirt leaders in a shipping container behind the protesters’ main stage.

He left after an hour or so, saying the talks had been “positive”.

Thailand government rejects Bangkok protest talks offer“, BBC News, May 18, 2010

But in the same article…

Thailand’s government has rejected an offer of mediated talks with red-shirt protesters aimed at ending an increasingly violent confrontation. (…)

But the government said the red-shirts had to leave their Bangkok camp before any talks could take place.

“The situation has escalated and become violent with armed groups and terrorists attacking the government, officers in the field and civilians,” cabinet minister Satit Wonghnongtaey said in a televised news conference.

“The situation could be resolved and lead to negotiations when demonstrators disperse.”

Thailand government rejects Bangkok protest talks offer“, BBC News, May 18, 2010

Well, there we are at the same problem we had for days now, neither side is willing to give: the government wants the red shirts to disperse first, the red shirts want the government stop their soldiers from shooting on people.

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For all the latest in this rapidly changing situation, follow me (@Saksith), @bangkokpundit, @anasuya, @danieljrivers, @newley, @karmanomad, @vaitor, @photo_journ, @Journotopia, @aelacallan, @agnesdherbeys, @BKKApologist, @markmackinnon and @aleithead on Twitter for live updates.

Also check this map of dangerous zones in Bangkok which will be constantly updated by Richard Barrow, AVOID THE RED AND GREEN AREAS AT ALL COST.

Feel free to comment and post footage you found online, took yourself. You can send them in to saksith [dot] saiyasombut [at] gmail [dot] com

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