Thailand’s King Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit have each called for an end to violence in the Muslim majority south, amid a rising wave of violence against the Buddhist minority. Nearly 550 people have died in the south this year as a result of a growing separatist Islamic insurgency. Recent deadly attacks on Buddhists have killed dozens and armed escorts have had to shadow barefoot monks on their rounds for alms, after several were gunned down by passing motorcyclists.
This latest wave attacks have been called reprisals for the deaths of 85 Muslim protestors after a riot. Most of the dead were suffocated or crushed after being arrested and tightly crammed into army trucks.
The violence shows no signs of ending. More than 500 guns, rocket-propelled grenades and tons of dynamite and fertilizer used for bombs have been stolen in the past 11 months. The King fears the country will fall into ruin. The Prime Minster is making a last ditch effort for peace. He has urged all Thais to fold up origami doves in a show of sympathy for the families of the dead. The doves will be airdropped on the region on December 5th, the King’s birthday. It is hoped peace may return to this region, and further violence can be avoided.