Updated: Going national

25 04 2010

In his Sunday television “interview,” accompanied by an obviously uncomfortable General Anupong Paojinda, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said many things that are covered in the media. PPT has long observed that Abhisit’s public statements do not always match his actions and we have urged attention to the latter. (Matichon has recently demonstrated that even the premier’s words of the past do not match his words of the present.)

However, one thing Abhisit said Sunday caught PPT’s attention. He reportedly said “… let me stress that this is not just about Rajprasong. We want to solve the whole problem…”. That comment could be interpreted in many ways. Let’s consider one interpretation.

The Bangkok Post (25 April 2010) reported that “Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva met with governors from 61 provinces Sunday, asking them to build understanding among local residents that the protest at Ratchaprasong is against the law and asked them to also take a legal action against local media broadcasting distorted information.” Abhisit’s meeting with the governors urged and extension of government propaganda and censorship of red shirt media,  particularly community radio. The charges against these media are vague accusations of “provocation and information distortion.”

Is this what Abhisit meant in his talk? That the struggle between the government and red shirts is intensifying and becoming a countrywide struggle? Of course, there has been a struggle against the red shirts in provincial areas for many months, but there appears an intensification on both sides. It seems unlikely that the military and government could deal with the southern conflict, red shirts in Bangkok and several provincial actions.

There were widespread reports on red shirt militancy in Khon Kaen, including in the international media (here and here) and an interesting piece by David Streckfuss in the Bangkok Post. However, in addition to Khon Kaen, action seem to be spreading. small rally was held by motorcycle taxis outside Abhisit’s heavily guarded residence on Sukhumvit 31 (not that he is home, being kept safe at a military base).

In Pathum Thani, red shirts “blocked part of inbound Phaholyothin frontage road and expressways heading to Bangkok. The Red Shirts aimed to obstruct 500 police officers from Lop Buri, Chai Nat, Nakhon Sawan and Nakhon Phanom from coming to Bangkok for fear that the police would be assigned to disperse the Red Shirt protest at Ratchaprasong.”

The Bangkok Post briefly reported that “red-shirt protesters in the upper northeastern provinces on Sunday morning converged on Mitraphap road in Udon Thani province to stop 178 policemen from joining the security forces in Bangkok…”. These police had been assigned to join police in at Rajaprasong.

The Post (25 April 2010) also reports that the red shirt leadership is “calling for regrouping of fresh demonstrators from Isan, North, and the Deep South and holding parallel provincial demonstrations in key provinces.” In the south, “security sources” believe people “from the three southernmost provinces this morning heading to Bangkok. Several dozens of pick-up trucks were seen taking hundreds of Muslim women and children mostly from Narathiwat’s Sisakhon and Bacho districts and few others from Satun, Pattani, Songkla, and Yala provinces.”

In Udornthani, there are said to be plans to seize the provincial administrative center if there is a crackdown by the military in Bangkok. Such plans are probably in place elsewhere. There are also plans to prevent troop movements appear to be ready for Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Sakon Nakhon and Udorn.

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that Abhisit and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban also met with “leaders of local administrative organisations from 61 provinces on Friday.” Chatree Yooprasert, secretary-general of the Association of Provincial Administrative Organisations, said “the request for local administrative bodies to help boost support for the government among their constituents was inappropriate.” He added that the “government is wrong. This government has long lost its legitimacy to run the country. They should either resign or dissolve the House to solve the country’s crisis…”.



%d bloggers like this: