Violence predicted?

15 08 2009

The Bangkok Post (15 August 2009: “Police plan response for UDD petition handover”) appears to be predicting violence when the red shirts present their petition for Thaksin Shinwatra’s “royal pardon” and when a Supreme Court rubber saplings corruption case is decided.

Acting police chief Wichien Potposri has asked “demonstrators to maintain order and warned them not to approach the Grand Palace in huge numbers.” At the same time, police will “not block red shirt demonstrators from approaching the Grand Palace but will form a line to separate them from blue shirt protesters who are likely to show up at the adjacent Supreme Court.”

The blue shirts will be at the Supreme Court to support their founder and godfather Newin Chidchob.

The police have “asked the armed forces to have soldiers on standby in case Bangkok police seek their assistance on Monday.”

Meanwhile, red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship “said the Royal Household Bureau contacted his group to coordinate the submission of the petition and this contact proved people had the right to petition for a royal pardon for Thaksin.”

The red shirts expect 100,000 supporters to gather at Sanam Luang. They claim to have invited former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and some privy councillors to attend.

Readers will recall that the blue shirts, directed by Newin and officials from the government coordinated the police and military with the blue shirts in Pattaya in April. This led to attacks on the red shirts that developed into the Songkhran Uprising, put down by the military.

Update: The Nation (16 August 2009: “Thaksin petition will be thrown out: PM”) reports that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has stated (yet again) that the red shirt petition will be rejected. More interesting is his comment on potential violence. It is reported that Abhisit does not call on his ally Newin’s blue shirts to avoid violence and act lawfully. Rather he calls on the “red shirts to rally within the frame of the law after a report that they planned to stage a protest outside Government House.”

Meanwhile the military has declared that it is “ready to help police if they needed its support to keep the peace in the capital.”

These stories predicting violence might be justified given the events of April, but it is (yet again) a one-sided story being told. Hopefully the government will control third hands such as those reporting to Newin rather than unleashing them.



2 responses

17 08 2009
Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Updated: Violence predicted?08.15 […]

24 08 2009
New: When in trouble, crack down « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] that there was also considerable speculation of violence when the UDD presented their petition last week. It is fair to say that some government supporters […]

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