The eruption of violence during the Thailand protests has sparked debate on issues such as economy, terrorism, tourism and possible outcomes and solutions. Numerous governments are issuing travel warnings, and some observers are questioning the difference between the events of the protests and terrorism, if there are any. Local reporters and bloggers are also giving their take on the Bangkok protests as they escalate — here’s a wrap to help you digest the latest developments…

Peaceful protests or terrorism? So – recently the red shirts have crashed the Royal Cliff Hotel in Pattaya and caused the leaders of Asian countries to escape by helicopter from the rooftop. They’ve parked gasoline trucks in residential areas with the idea that they would blow them up — I heard. Not sure if that’s true. If true that is more akin to terrorism than just protesting the government and wanting it to change. — Thai Pulse Blog

The Debate Over a Thai Republic. Is the “R” word a taboo terminology in the Thai political vocabulary? Thailand’s political temperature has been sharply rising, particularly since former premier Thaksin Shinawatra appeared on a large screen in Bangkok in a pre-recorded video message attacking General Prem Tinsulanonda and General Surayud Chulanont, both formers prime ministers and members of the Privy Council. He accused them of masterminding the September 2006 coup. — Asia Sentinel

Meanwhile, down the Market. Reports said more than 100 locals at Bangkok’s Mahanak Market were trying to drive out the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters from the area before the clash erupted. — Bangkok Pundit

Bangkok skirmish. I have just got back from Makkasan, an area between Din Daeng and Ploenchit. The Red Shirts had burned two buses and tried to push over a telephone pole. Soldiers were out there as well — a double row of riot control soldiers with shields and batons, backed up by armed soldier — Straits Times

Thai Baht Declines, Debt Rating at Risk Amid Protests. Thailand’s baht fell the most in 10 months and ratings companies said the nation’s debt rating may be cut after anti-government protesters fought police and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency. The currency extended its loss this year to 2.8 percent as soldiers battled to restore order to Bangkok’s streets. — Bloomberg

LPG Tanker Removed By Troops. Red-shirt protesters yesterday hijacked two liquefied-petroleum-gas (LPG) trucks with the intention of using them against soldiers at two locations in Bangkok before they were seized without incident. The residents initially tried to talk the protesters into moving the truck away. When they refused to comply, the residents sent a group of men armed with sticks to chase them away. — The Nation

Angry residents repel invading protesters In Din Daeng, apartment residents helped soldiers remove a gas tanker used by red shirt protesters to thwart government forces. About 50 residents of the flats asked the demonstrators and truck driver to move the tanker away from their homes because of the presence of children and the elderly. The protesters refused and the ranting of the drunken tanker driver only angered the residents. — Bangkok Post

Travel advice: A violent showdown between Thai soldiers and anti-government protesters in Bangkok has prompted governments around the world to issue travel warnings. Britain, France, America, South Korea, Japan and Australia all issued warnings. — The Telegraph

Protests under control…right? Bangkok – By late evening Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was declaring the protests were all but quelled. ‘This mission has progressed and is nearly complete, and I ask all of the authorities to remain firm,’ Abhisit said in a national address, flanked by top brass and cabinet ministers. Earlier, thousands of Thai anti-government protesters clashed with armed soldiers and Bangkok residents on Monday, leaving two dead and 113 injured in street battles that raged across the capital. — Khamerlogue blog

UDD Brings disgrace: The so-called protest for democracy we are witnessing here in Bangkok and which the rest of world sees via the media and internet, is hardly a representation of the historical ”Power to the People” civil rights/anti-war movements in the US or the ”People Power” protesters armed with flowers and rosaries in the Philippines. The mass of red shirts, armed with axe and crowbar, by their amok behaviour are more akin to the waves of hysterical adolescents unleashed by Chairman Mao and the Gang of Four during the Cultural Revolution. — Bangkok Post

A nation torn apart by red and yellow The rhetoric is uncompromising. Mr Thaksin urged his supporters to overturn the old order forever. Meanwhile, Abhisit Vejjajiva, the current prime minister, has called the protesters “national enemies”. — The SMH

Violence escalates during Thailand protests Thai troops have reportedly fired repeatedly into the air in Bangkok after anti-government protesters torched a bus at a main junction. Watch here. — Thailander.com

Phuket hotel operators upbeat despite cancellations The Phuket office of the Thai Hotels Association today reported that about 20% of reservations made at Phuket hotels prior to the Songkran holiday have been canceled following the Thai government’s declaration of a state of emergency in the nation’s capital late yesterday. — Phukette Gazette

Thai army chief vows to end ‘chaos’ as protests widens. Major shopping malls shut their doors, foreign governments advised their citizens in Bangkok to stay inside and the government banned the sale of gasoline in the center of the city in an effort to stop protesters from making Molotov cocktails. “We will not use weapons unless it is necessary to defend ourselves,” said Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara, the supreme commander of Thailand’s armed forces. “We will not use them excessively.” — Khimsokheang blog

Social Forces clash head-on This has been a catastrophic and humiliating week for Thailand. It is now a nation on the brink of disaster. There will either be a more violent military crackdown in Bangkok or a new election, which could settle nothing. The violence is so dangerous because it represents the clash of entrenched social forces. — The Australian

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