Global Capitalism, the Middle Class and the Shape of the New Mega Cities of the Region

Authored by: Chua Beng Huat

Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415494274
eBook ISBN: 9780203155011
Adobe ISBN: 9781136579196


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On 3 April 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as the ‘Red Shirts’, consolidated the main camp of their mass street protest from the by now conventional symbolic locus of political protest of Ratchadamnoen Road, where they had been for more than a month, to the upscale or upmarket shopping and hotel district, Ratchaprasong. It is somewhat ironic that the Red Shirts were largely from the provincial rural poor in the north and northeast of the country, drawing resonance and support from the urban poor and other rural migrants to the city that fill the lower rungs of the urban service economies. The UDD’s protest was to force the existing government, a coalition led by the Democratic Party, to resign and call fresh elections, on the grounds that the government was not popularly elected but had come to power on a parliamentary vote, after the duly elected government was dissolved by an act of the Constitutional Court.

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