Further updated: Abhisit will not yield amid calls for blood-letting

19 04 2010

The Bangkok Post (19 April 2010) reports that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has appeared in a special television program to reiterate that he will not yield to what he calls “the intimidation of the red shirts who break the emergency law to advance their agenda.” As PPT has written several times previously, Abhisit works with a concept of rule of law that is actually rule by law, even if the law used is illegitimate.

Again, Abhisit apparently “implied that the red shirts’ ultimate purpose is not simply to hold a general election but beyond that.” This is an apparent code for overthrowing the monarchy. As PPT posted a week ago, Pravit Rojanaphruk claimed that in an earlier appearance, Abhisit appeared to be aligning his language with that of the extreme yellow shirts, “by blaming red shirts for seeking to establish a ‘new Thai state’ as the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and a number of conservative ultra-royalist media have long been accusing then much blood will be spilled…”. Abhisit appears to be drawing considerable strength from this extremist support.

As he has long maintained, “the problems of inequalities have existed for a long time and several governments have tried to solve the problems.” In fact, in an Al Jazeera interview, deputy Democrat Party leader Kraisak Choonhavan claimed that the current government had spent three times what the Thaksin Shinawatra government had spent on rural programs. While PPT considers this little more than huff and puff (how can the two be compared given, for example, their different longevities?), but when Abhisit brushes off inequality it is easy to see why his party makes little gain in the red shirt heartland.

Abhisit remained firm on no dissolution. He wanted to “lay down conditions that would make general election peaceful.” There is no chance of that now. Perhaps there will not be an election in Thailand for several years now. That is a possibility PPT pointed to some time ago.

The premier apparently concluded by saying that “he could not yield to is the use of force to coerce the government to yield, otherwise the political process is meaningless. Anyone wants something, they can simply ignore the rule of law by resorting to force. The country will be in anarchy if he allows this to become a norm.”Abhisit clearly has double standards on his rule of law.

PPT kn0ws Abhisit didn’t make such claims when he was in opposition, supporting PAD, and calling for several governments to yield and fall. Some argue that two wrongs don’t make a right, and that the red shirts should not engage in the yellow shirts tactics. However, the yellow shirt tactics changed the way politics is conceived in Thailand. Killing and injuring people to maintain a government is also be illegitimate and illegal. The problem for Thailand is that the army and security forces have long shown a proclivity for state murder. It is almost always in support of right-wing and extreme positions. That hasn’t changed.

Update 1: Grant Peck at AP comments on Abhisit’s television appearance: “Let’s not draw a deadline (to remove the Red Shirts)…. I do realize Thais are troubled, that everyone wants it to be quick … But there are many factors they have to take into account.” That is an interesting claim. Abhisit seems almost embalmed in his military encampment and by extreme yellow shirt opinion.

Update 2: The op-ed pages of The Nation are becoming increasingly outrageous. PPT understands that many readers will wonder how they could get even more outrageous, but read Sopon Onkgara’s piece today and be “treated” to the most blood-thirsty piece of “journalis” since the 1970s.

Sopon is deeply disappointed that what he calls “operation payback” didn’t come about yesterday. He wanted to see “teams of troops … disperse the red shirts…”. He says: “But there had been no action as of press time. The forces were still awaiting the final green light from Army chief General Anupong Paochinda.” It is as if Sopon is desirous of the crack of skull and the whiff of blood.

Anupong, he says, has a clear choice: “national survival, together with that of the monarchy, or a regime that sees Thaksin Shinawatra’s triumphant return via the help of the red shirts.”

He adds that the “red shirts are no longer regarded as genuine campaigners for democracy as they have claimed. In the eyes of fair-minded observers, the ringleaders have committed high treason. Armed terrorists are their fearsome supporters, who carried out indiscriminate shootings at soldiers and civilians on April 10.” The term “fair-minded” seems devoid of meaning for Sopon. But he has plenty of supporters amongst the frightened Sino-Thai middle class and the ruling class.

Sopon considers the red shirts already defeated: “They can never walk around like free men again.” Sopon expects a high “body count.” He explains that the “military spokesman at the operations headquarters has talked tough over the past few days. Terms such as ‘acceptable collateral damage’ have been heard, to test public reaction.” He gloats over this: “A crackdown is certain. The only question left is when. Some troops are eager to take revenge for their fallen comrades and those suffering long-term medical treatment and recuperation.”

He claims the “red shirts are also aware that they are pariahs, increasingly feared and despised by Bangkok residents who have been tormented by the lawlessness of these hired goons now enjoying extra income out of Thaksin’s pockets.” What will happen. Sopon’s dream and hope is for “[a]nother confrontation between the red shirts and troops, possibly involving Silom residents fighting to protect their interests. That means more bloodletting and a high number of casualties on both sides. The innocent people mobilised by Thaksin’s money will fall victim in the firefight, just like the mayhem 10 days ago.”

Sopon has reached the bottom. He is apparently calling  for the red shirts to be massacred. This is truly horrible stuff, but PPT can’t help wondering if this isn’t the broader view held amongst the ruling class.



One response

20 04 2010
Government anti-red shirt propaganda intensifies « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] red shirts – paid, duped, Thaksin supporters and so on. Not terribly sophisticated, but as Sopon Onkgara put it yesterday, the “military spokesman at the operations headquarters has talked tough over […]

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