Red shirt action

20 01 2010

Update: Almost as soon as PPT posted about it, the red shirts have called off their proposed airport rally (nationmultimedia.com/2010/01/20/politics/politics_30120737.php). Apparently, they were just “thinking about it.” Perhaps, but the reaction they got was remarkable. They continue with small rallies at multiple sites.

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The red shirts are using small rallies to get plenty of attention.

The Bangkok Post (20 January 2010) and most other media outlets have reported a red shirt plan to rally on the road leading to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport next week.

Business leaders are reportedly “alarmed” and “frantic” and stocks fell 1.39% yesterday, which analysts linked to the red shirt threat, even though the fall was in line with mixed results elsewhere in Asia (Bangkok Post, 20 January 2010 ).

Red shirt/United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) spokesman stated that the rally “would not disrupt airport operations or interfere with passengers.”

Business interests recall, though, that the closure of Suvarnabhumi in November and December 2008, by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), caused immense damage. The PAD rally was supported by senior members of the Democrat Party, including the current finance minister and minister for foreign affairs. More than a year later, no legal action against the PAD has been completed by their allies in the current government.

Satit Rungkasiri, the director-general of the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, whose own minister supported the PAD actions, warned that “an airport closure would be akin to ‘national suicide’.” He added that: “If the airport is closed due to political protests, it would be a problem for the economy on par with the Map Ta Phut dispute. No one, no country, could accept a second closure for its main airport…”.

So a first closure is acceptable, but not a second closure?

The Thai Hotels’ Association said “Thailand’s global image would be ‘destroyed’ if the airport was closed.” Its president urged the government to do “everything, even if it means drastic measures, to protect the airport…”. Meanwhile, logistics operators “expressed hope that the government and security forces can prevent any serious fallout if a rally occurred.”

Red shirt leader Natthawut Saikua stated that “the rally was intended to press for progress in the prosecution of the UDD’s political rivals, the People’s Alliance for Democracy, for its extended blockade of the airport in late 2008.” Natthawut said the “purpose was to determine if certain people were receiving preferential treatment with regard to the law…”.

He said the “protest would be peaceful. The group would not lay siege to the terminal and they would not block off the airport’s entrances.” He added that they would not obstruct traffic and it would not be a protracted affair.

Meanwhile, red shirt pressure continued against Privy Councilor Surayud Chulanont over Khao Yai Thiang. Red shirt visits to the “homes of other privy councilors” were planned. Science and Technology Minister and senior Democrat Party member Kalaya Sophonpanich “slammed the UDD for linking her family [the titans running the Bangkok Bank and related enterprises, with close links to General Prem Tinsulanond] to alleged land ownership irregularities at the Khao Soi Dao forest reserve in Chanthaburi. She said it was irresponsible to make indiscriminate accusations and lambasted the movement for claiming Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda had something to do with the questionable land occupation.”

The political temperature continues to rise.

As a footnote, taxi and limousine drivers are looking to close Phuket airport in a protest over corruption (see here).


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11 08 2014
Comedy and the coup II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] feeling sorry for military leaders who engage in corruption that allows them to own expensive holiday properties, houses, cars and […]

11 08 2014
Comedy and the coup II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] feeling sorry for military leaders who engage in corruption that allows them to own expensive holiday properties, houses, cars and […]




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