Further updated: No more rubber bullets

19 04 2010

An army source, a colonel, cited in the Bangkok Post said unit commanders at Silom “wanted their men to be properly armed if they were to be engaged in operations.” He added: “They are not going to fight with shields, batons and rubber bullets…”.

Update 1: While the Abhisit Vejjajiva government continues to talk tough, clearly something is holding the military back. According to a VOA report, “United Democratic Front Against Dictatorship leader, [Jaran Ditthapichai], says contacts with the head of the army, General Anupong Paochinda, prevented a new crackdown.”  Jaran added: “We prepare ourselves.  Many people come from the province already.  We try to send a message to Anupong like last night.  Someone talked with Anupong and he said ‘O.K., O.K.,’ he will not order, he would not order the army to crackdown us on this morning at 3 a.m…. We negotiate daily with Anupong and we are successful already for two days.”

Could there also be some in the Democrat Party who reject the prime minister’s kowtowing to the yellow-shirted extremists? The same VOA report has pictures of Democrat Party member and Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, meeting with protest leaders. He says: “I heard all the arguments.  I listened to all the arguments, and will convey the message to the prime minister…. The leaders of the UDD and me are in agreement that the most important thing is to avoid further bloodshed.” Are there other Democrat Party members who might urge less extremism?

Update 2: AP (and others) report that red shirts, in response to the presence of thousands of heavily armed troops, are digging in for the expected crackdown. They are readying themselves for a “battle.”


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