Abhisit and Suthep speak on protecting the monarchy

31 12 2009

Prachatai has a report (30 December 2009) that is based on a 26 December report in the Thai Post that reveals the increasing angst amongst the government and its supporters.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, as Chair of the National Police Policy Commission, is reported to have told 337 police commanders from all over the country that “the first priority for the police is to protect and uphold the monarchy.”

Abhisit blamed “certain groups of people” for dragging the monarchy into political conflicts. PPT wonders if he includes himself and his fellow Democrats in this “certain groups” category? Or has he conveniently forgotten the Article 7 debate in 2006 (see here and here). Of course, he only means “enemies” and not “loyalists.”

Abhisit went on to claim that the monarchy “is a delicate issue” with the authorities often feeling uncomfortable dealing with complaints. He also admitted that the piling up of cases will be used by political groups as a pretext to implicate the monarchy.” Those nasty “enemies” at it again. Piling up the cases would be okay if it didn’t cause political problems. The premier again reiterated that a special committee has been set up to screen these [lese majeste?] cases.” He added that this “special committee” would be asked to “prescribe criteria for cases related to the monarchy.

He apparently blathered on about the law [being] enforced equally and straightforwardly on political conflicts.” PPT confidently asserts that this is a bald-faced lie. He added: “During the past year, I have told the Acting Police Chief to work in a straightforward manner, not favouring or hindering anybody. Do not hesitate in cases where the offence is obvious.” He says that the “red shirts have complained that the cases from April [Songkhran Uprising] were handled very quickly. That’s because there was clear evidence in media reports.”

Hmm. The evidence is in the media? Is that great legal procedure? In any case the double standards Abhisit claims to not have are visible as there are plenty of media reports (including at ASTV) of PAD’s illegal actions.

Alleged double standards” are only a problem for Abhisit because they “are now being used to instigate political unrest.” He says: I insist that I don’t want to see double standards. The police must prove that they don’t have double standards. And I will not interfere. But, if there’s any problem or hurdle, just tell me. I’ll solve it…”. Disingenuous indeed, for double standards have been definitional of this government and its actions.

Abhisit was supported by his hand-picked Acting Police Chief Pol Gen Patheep Tanprasert. As we have posted later joined the troops who went to see Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda as he began rallying the forces for the widely predicted “final showdown” with Thaksin Shinawatra.

Pratheep said that the urgent task for the police was to provide security for His Majesty the King and the Royal Family. There is no room for any mistakes. All cases which concern national security must proceed quickly. He had ordered that each case must be overseen by a deputy commander. Several cases took 3-5 months before being forwarded to the National Police Bureau. So he urged them to hurry to get the cases finished in 1-2 months.

In fact, some cases have been dragging on for more than a year (see here). In fact, far from suggesting any slackening of censorhip and control, this is a worrying development for the acting police chief appears to be threatening increased attention and action against those identified as opponents of the monarchy. At present, those so identified are also identified as red shirts.

Is a crackdown approaching? Indeed, this seems ever more likely. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is also Chair of the Police Commission, said that the police have the duty of protecting the monarchy. They had to prosecute those who commit offences.” He added that “[s]everal websites, including, for example, Prachatai, had spread rumours about His Majesty’s illness, and incited people against the institution.

Suthep added that police “commanders should teach their subordinates to be grateful to the monarchy, and the police and their families must recognize this…”.

There overt calls for action against the alleged enemies of the monarchy appears to be occurring in tandem with the upswing in the fear exhibited by the government and its backers and the need they feel for the “final showdown.” We hope we are wrong, but it could get very messy and very nasty.



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3 01 2010
อภิสิทธิ์และสุเทพ เร่งปกป้องระบอบกษัตริย์ « Liberal Thai

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