Upping the Ante

Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP / Getty Images

SHOW OF FORCE: An anti-junta rally in Bangkok on June 11

Having dubbed itself the land of Smiles, Thailand tends to go out of its way to avoid confrontation. The capital's infamous traffic jams, for instance, rarely lead to the kind of road rage that strikes other cities. Yet this past week, the Southeast Asian kingdom showed the world a rather less peaceful visage. Protests against Thailand's ruling junta spilled onto Bangkok streets last weekend, with an estimated 13,000 demonstrators calling for the resignation of the generals who masterminded a bloodless coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last September. The marches, which sometimes erupted in clashes with the police, were the largest...

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