Updated: Commentary on Thailand’s Songkran crisis

13 04 2009

Al Jazerra (13 April 2009: “What Thailand’s ‘red shirts’ want”) has a long report on video, including an interview with Red shirt/UDD international spokesman Sean Boonpracong. It has coverage of violence that has injured at least 70 in Bangkok, including pictures of armed troops and red shirt protestors armed with molotov cocktails. Al Jazeera has a number of other video reports from Thailand.

The BBC has a number of reports, including video of the army shooting at buses that others claim was hijacked and video showing armed troops charging red shirts and firing weapons. In the Bangkok Post, the Army claims that no one has been killed.

Ji Giles Ungpakorn has continued to release statements on his blog, Red Siam/สยามแดง, including pictures of events in Bangkok.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies but also apparently an official of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provides some discussion of the issue of Republicanism in Thailand (Asia Sentinel, 12 April 2009: “The Debate Over a Thai Republic“). Pavin is no red shirt, but the commentary is worth reading for the fact that is uses the R word and for beginning a contextualization of the bigger political picture. The reader comments at the end of the article indicate the divisions quite starkly.

At Malaysian Insider (13 April 2009: “Thais on the brink, again”), Michael J. Montesano, also at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, provides this comment, seriously worth considering: “… Thailand has entered a period far more momentous than … the [mainstream] media coverage suggests. A range of evidence indicates that the country is on the brink of a revolutionary situation.” Montesano states that “… neither an election nor a mediated process of reconciliation is likely to resolve Thailand’s present revolutionary situation.” And he concludes that that result may well be “… a Thailand in which the monarch … and the military play less central roles than those to which Thais have grown accustomed over the past half-century.”

The Independent (13 April 2009: “Thailand should remember Nepal”)  has a short opinion piece comparing Nepal and Thailand.

The Bangkok Post (13 April 2009: “Roads, railways, bridges blocked in response to crackdown”) reports on how after the police arrested a red shirt leader and the government closed the DStation TV satellite signal, red shirts retaliated in many provinces by closing roads, railways and bridges. In reports actions in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai,  Lampang, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Lamphun, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Khai, Mukdahan, and Chanthaburi.

Update: We fixed a link to Pavin’s commentary, which now does not have his name on it.



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8 12 2020
Memes, communism, and a republic | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] was considerable debate about republicanism in Thailand in 2009. Nor should we forget that, in 2010, there was a spurt in […]

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