Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies at the Missouri School of Journalism: All-out violence rages in many parts of the world. Consider: the drug war in northern Mexico; fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan; ethnic conflicts in Rwanda, the Congo or Sudan. But there is a level below that in which opposition groups have taken to the streets to protest government actions. These protests have been met with government attempts to maintain control without using excessive force although there have been injuries and some deaths in recent weeks. Three of those places are Moldova and Georgia, both former republics of the Soviet Union, and Thailand, an important ally of the United States in Southeast Asia. In Thailand, “red shirts” representing the poor rural areas of the country are protesting the ouster and exile of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was more favorable to them than the new Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. In Moldova, mostly young demonstrators have been in the streets protesting the re-election of the Communist Party. They say the election count was rigged. A recount is under way, but outside observers say the original results were fair. In Georgia, the blush is off the flower of the so-called “Rose Revolution” that brought Mikhail Saakashvili to power five years ago. After a humiliating war with Russia last summer and a fall in the economy, some demonstrators have been pushing for his ouster. Let’s start in Bangkok; there has been a crisis going on for three years, but once again it is critical. Is it possible that the government will fall or that the demonstrations will get worse?
Opposition groups take to the street
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