Bangkok is Burning

Well, not yet, but it’s still early.

Tanks surrounded government buildings in Bangkok today and the Thai Prime Minister declared a state of emergency amid fears of a military coup.

Army-owned television stations interrupted their scheduled broadcasting to show images of the country’s revered Royal Family and songs associated with the Army.

“I declare Bangkok under a severe state of emergency,” he said.

Reuters reported government officials saying that he planned to return to Bangkok on Thursday, a day earlier than planned. They did not give a reason.

Meanwhile, Budapest really is burning. Well, cars and trash cans are. Apparently, the prime minister was caught on video admitting he and his administration lied and lied and lied again to win an April election. Not surprisingly, Hungarians are none too pleased about this.

Ferenc Gyurcsany, Hungary’s prime minister, has resisted calls to step down and vowed to restore public order after an anti-government demonstration on Monday night degenerated into a riot in which 125 people, mostly police, were injured.

The protest – the worst incidence of public unrest in Hungary since the collapse of Communism in 1989 – was triggered by an audio recording, leaked to the press on Sunday, in which Mr Gyurcsany admitted that his Socialist government had lied repeatedly to voters about state finances.

The worst violence occurred in the early hours of Tuesday when hundreds of demonstrators stormed the headquarters of Hungary’ public television demanding to read a statement on the air.

Police, forced back by a shower of paving stones, bottles and other missiles that injured more than 100 officers, fell back inside the building before abandoning it.

As television staff fled through a rear exit and broadcasts were halted, rioters entered the building and occupied it for several hours. The crowd caused significant damage inside the building and set several cars alight. Fire from one of the burning cars spread to the building.

If these things happen in three’s, then let’s get something started in Havana.

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