There was always hope…even when there was none.

The protests were peaceful and the government was holding back its forces.

But downtown businesses were being hurt by the fact tourists and locals choose to stay away from the shopping district where the protesters had virtually set up camp.

The government tried to persuade the protesters to end their occupation…but the protesters believed too much in their cause to pack it in without what they considered to be appropriate concessions…which always seemed only to be the call of a new election.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely as a philosopher once said.

Power taken will not be easily relinquished.

So today the streets erupted with gunfire and smoke…and many dead and wounded. the leaders of the protest have apparently surrendered.

What does this mean?

Will tourists come back. Is it the end of protest. Or will peaceful protest become guerrella warfare.

That is my prediction.

Hold on to your hats as government troops hold on to their guns…And a new more violent form or opposition rises to replace peaceful pickets.

It is a sad time for everyone who has come to love the entire country of Thailand…and a city for all its warts that is a fascinating place to visit shop and dine.

The menu going forward will be iron and steel plated…and the downtown merchants who wanted the protest to be over will be in fact further behind with many months or years before the Thailand trend comes back again.