No coup? Preparing for demonstrations?

27 01 2010

Bangkok was abuzz with coup rumors as two dozen armored personnel carriers were moved to the city. The army and government denied any coup. Then the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra bloggers began speculating about a pro-Thaksin coup while the government blamed Thaksin supporters for spreading coup rumors.

Wassana Nanuam (Bangkok Post, 27 January 2010) has an interesting view when she adds: “the army has reportedly ordered that tanks from military units in Saraburi and the North be repaired at army depots in Bangkok and Pathum Thani. There was no telling when and whether the tanks would return to their barracks once the repairs were completed.” Further, “The 1st Army headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue has recently set up a war room equipped with modern equipment to prepare for a major anti-government demonstration led by the UDD next month. The military believes the red shirts and Thaksin want a showdown with the government ahead of a key court decision on Thaksin’s assets case on Feb 26.

Wassana thinks that if there are demonstrations, and they get out of hand, then the military could stage a coup. But as Bangkok Pundit points out, the relationship has reasons to thank the government. Indeed, the coalition partners and the military need each other for a whole range of reasons, not the least being the determination of the Democrat Party and the army leadership to defend the monarchy and defeat Thaksin and the red shirts.

So maybe the best interpretation is that the army is preparing to put down red shirt demonstrations that the Abhisit Vejjajiva government has been predicting since December and now expects late in February.



One response

3 02 2010
Police to trace rumors « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] PPT stated at the time that we believed these movements were related to preparations for controlling the red shirt demonstrations that the government fears are likely next month, not preparations for a coup. The Post reports that “Puea Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh … also dismissed the coup speculation. He said as a former soldier he did not think the top military brass would stage a coup.” […]

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