Nearly 80 people died of suffocation while in police custody in southern Thailand after being trucked away from the scene of a violent demonstration on Oct. 25. More than 430 have died in the Muslim-dominated south this year as separatists and Islamic radicals have clashed with officials. The heavyhanded police treatment is likely to inflame Muslim resentment against the government. That doesn't augur well for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is seeking reelection in polls due by February. Thaksin blamed the deaths on the victims, whom he says were weak from Ramadan fasting.
EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady