With 4 updates: PAD is on the march

18 04 2010

The People’s Alliance for Democracy has been organizing various pink shirt and “no color” rallies in support of the Abhisit Vejjajiva government over the past few weeks, opposing the red shirts. Now they are mobilizing in a more serious way. The Bangkok Post has this telling headline: “Thai govt given ultimatum by “Yellow Shirt” allies.” The article says: “Thailand’s elite-backed ‘Yellow Shirts’ vowed Sunday to take action if the government failed to deal with their rival red-clad demonstrators in Bangkok within a week, a spokesman said.”

A PAD spokesman said: “In seven days we hope that the government will deal with the terrorists from Thaksin immediately otherwise we will show our voice to protect the country and the royal family…”. Terrorists, Thaksin, nationalism, monarchy. This mix is meant to galvanize opposition to the red shirts and to push the army to action.

Update 1: PAD gets considerable support in the mainstream media. Of course it has its own media in ASTV/Manager, which is venomous in its attacks on anyone considered “soft” on Thaksin Shinawatra, and it hates the red shirts. In the English-language press, the Bangkok Post is owned and managed by Democrat supporters and funders, with Chirathivats (Central Group) and Vejjajivas included. The Nation is often foaming at the mouth in its editorial pages in support of anyone who opposes Thaksin and the red shirts. The recent blog, pointed out be a regular reader, by the ever maniacal Thanong Khanthong of lying on ABC TV infamy, is barking mad, but reflects the yellow-shirted fear and fight. He argues that Abhisit Vejjajiva must smash the red shirts now or risk a red-yellow civil war.

As we have said before, Thanong is a pretty good bell weather of PAD discussions and thinking. He says it is “clear that one of the hidden agendas of the Red Shirts is to take over the state before downgrading or removing the Monarchy from the facets of the Thai society.” His scenario, warning Abhisit, is that “Thais from all colours will come out to kill each other because by that time they can’t differentiate who are their friends or foes.”

Thanong makes 6 points:

1. The “Military and the Police have not exhibited any signs of urgency to take on the Red Shirts.”

2. The “security forces and the Police have yet to nab the 25 Red Shirts leaders…. The attempt to arrest Arisman … at SC Park Hotel on Friday turned into a farce. It reflects a dark plot to repeatedly show that the Abhisit government is no longer in control of law and order. The Police are in full neutral gear mode.”

3. Abhisit “is hanging on his premiership by a tiny string. Both the Military, the Police, the Red Shirts and the coalition partners are applying tremendous pressure for him to resign or to dissolve Parliament immediately. Within the Democrats, Abhisit is also losing his control.”

4. The red shirts will get “more confrontational and violent.” mode. They are “now attempting to stage a Revolution to change the Thai regime. The high profile role of the left-leaning faction of the Red Shirts is evidence of this movement.”

5. The military is divided. The “flip-flop announcement of the leadership restructuring of the Emergency Operation Command shows that Abhisit’s power is being eroded.”

6. The PAD 7-day deadline to Abhisit will put “pressure on Abhisit to act on the Red Shirts. So far Gen Anupong and his Army are reluctant to take on the Red Shirts…. Many are raising doubts about the ambiguous stance of Gen Anupong.”

Thanong concludes that Abhisit must act against the red shirts now or there will be civil war.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post has a short story:

PAD co-leader Somsak Kosaisuk – Sondhi Limthongkul has been missing for months, perhaps in China – reportedly said “Thailand has never experienced a deep division like this one before. The red-shirts are using the words ‘commoners’ and ‘elites’ to create such division.” In fact it might have been wealthy PAD backer Arthit Urairat saying this as the report is unclear. Arthit is reported as opining that the “country belongs to everyone of us but there are some people who are destroying the country to gain personal benefits…”. The alway grinning but exceptionally dangerous former mercenary and PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang said the red shirts were made up of the “MPs who work in the House of Representatives, the demonstrators and the insurgents.”

In fact, the PAD meeting appears to have been rather more rabid than these reports indicate. Some of the tweets indicate this.

Update 3: It seems that PAD reckons that the government killed no one on 10 April. AFP cites Parnthep Pourpongpan, a PAD spokesman fas demanding that the red shirts “value their own lives by not making any untrue statements saying that the government killed the people…”. Continuing with this threatening line, he added: “The Red Shirts should save their lives by stopping the rally…”. Very clear and to the point and very reminiscent of statements by the frenzied right before the blood-letting on 6 October 1976.

Update 4: The Nation reports that Chamlong Srimuang said the “red shirts have caused polarisation with words like ‘prai’ and ‘ammat’ but their real intention is to mobilise the masses as a means to transform the political system…”. PAD leader Pipop Thongchai “blamed fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Pheu Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh for the April 10 violence.” He also claimed that “[h]ardcore leftists and certain remnants of the nowdefunct Communist Party of Thailand had teamed up with the red shirts to try to trigger a civil war…”.

PAD issued a statement “condemning Thaksin and his army of red shirts for trying to incite a rebellion. Pheu Thai Party, the red shirts and a private army were seeking to agitate the public, leading to an uprising, it said in the statement.”

This might all sound far-fetched but these notions are believed and accepted by their supporters. The inciting of right-wing rage is required to justify strong, violent and probably deadly  action against the red shirts.


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30 10 2011
Madness, yellow shirts and floods « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] as a scourge on the nation, going to extreme lengths to paint them as demons bent on destruction. As we have said before, Thanong is a useful measure of yellow-shirted opinion and and […]