BANGKOK, Thailand -- Clashes between anti-government protesters and the military continue on the second day after Thailand's prime minister placed Bangkok and surrounding provinces under a state of emergency.
Tension is building in an intersection on a main road in Bangkok. Troops of Thailand's military are shooting towards the Red Shirt protesters, but the Red Shirts are determined to stay and fight for their cause to overthrow Abhisit and restore democracy. which they believe has been robbed from them.
Prime Minister Abhisit is in a safe house amidst a series of violent protests staged by the Red Shirted, United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship. Abhisit and his deputy prime minister narrowly escaped when Red Shirts attacked his official car.
The Red Shirts' actions on Saturday in the city of Pattaya led to the humiliating cancellation of the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The Red Shirts had overpowered security at the Asian meeting and managed to break the glass wall of the Media Center. In response, many of the ASEAN leaders fled the meeting venue by helicopter.
Demonstrators Want Prime Minister to Resign
The anti-government protestors want the prime minister to resign. They say his government is corrupt and the election that brought him to power was rigged with help from the Thai military.
The ASEAN Summit was Abhisit's chance to show the international community that Thailand is back to normal after it experienced three changes in administration in a span of only 15 months. It was also his way of showing this country that he is in charge, but that is now in doubt as the protests continue.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin says he's prepared to return to Thailand from exile to lead a new government.
Political analyst and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak says it is vital for Abhisit to prove the legitimacy of his position to restore order in the country.
"It would be an act of sacrifice if he does that to clear the slate," he said. "And if there are deep doubts that lead to instability then dissolving the house is one way to release pressure and move forward, but they have to make sure conditions are in place for workable and acceptable polls otherwise the polls will be problematic.
But the immediate outcome in the coming days are in the hands of the military. Whether it will launch a bloody, deadly crackdown on anti-government protestors, or abandon the current prime minister and government and stand down.