Updated: More on parliament surrounded

26 03 2010

Update: After some limited media criticism, a fierce response from Peua Thai Party MPs, including a 2-day boycott of parliament, the government begun to reduce the huge military presence at parliament. Television news showed the troops withdrawing and razor wire and barricades being removed.

Part of the criticism today came in an extremely emotional statement in parliament by the one Peua Thai MP who showed up, spoke, and then left.As we mentioned below, the senate speaker also made a plea.

The government, which had earlier seen that images of the prime minister surrounded by military personnel was poor public relations, appears to have woken up to that fact that making parliament look like a military base in a war zone is probably not the best message. That said, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems not to care all that much, and in parliament was grim-faced in making statements defending his government and the military.

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While much of the media has jumped to Abhisit Vejjajiva’s support, seemingly seeing nothing wrong with the huge “security” measures taken to “protect” parliament, Senate speaker Prasopsuk Boondej is reported in the Bangkok Post as saying that the government should review its security measures as the deployment of troops at the parliament affects the image of the country…”.

He says: “The deployment of soldiers and the setting up of cement barricades and barbed wire inside and around the parliament building compound without giving advance notice has inconvenienced senators trying to get to work…” (PPT added the emphasis). He argues that it was unnecessary “to station a large number of soldiers at the parliament.

He added: “In addition, there will be a meeting of senators on Monday and foreign delegates to the 122nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting will visit the parliament the same day. If they see a large number of soldiers, it could erode the country’s image”.

With Peau Thai Party members still boycotting and now heavily involved at the red shirt rally, the government sat in parliament virtually alone. PPT watched some of the session and it was handed over to a series of attacks on the red shirts and support for the “security” measures. Apart from allowing the Democrat Party to let off a bit of steam, it was a bit like watching one hand clapping.


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