Abhisit and red shirt photo opportunities

11 11 2010

In an earlier post, PPT had details of a Social Move call for the end to the state of emergency. Now Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems to be responding, but in his usual vainglorious manner.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “emergency decree still in force in Bangkok and adjacent provinces could be lifted before January because the overall situation has improved…”. January would mean that Bangkok will have been under emergency rule for some 10 months, having been enacted on 7 April 2010. But lifting the decree will always depend on the army and other “security agencies.”

In the same story, the Post refers to a performance that ranks high for arrogance, the prime minister sought a photo opportunity with two “UDD suspects who were freed on bail, with money placed by the Justice Ministry, to meet him at parliament.” PPT finds this kind of odd. The two had been “detained on a charge of violating the emergency decree.”

PPT suggests that readers look also at a Prachatai account of what is happening on these cases before relying on the Post and the prime minister’s acting voice, Panitan Wattanayagorn. They seem to offer up Abhisit’s political move as some kind of act of reconciliation. Clearly it was a photo opp and not much more. Abhisit might have asked the men “about conditions in the prison and their health,” but he is responsible for them (and many more) having to have spent months in jail.

The Nation adds to the story saying: “Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva summoned two of the three red shirts released on bail yesterday morning … to meet him and expressed concern about their health and lack of employment.” The report adds: “The surprise move came after the three red shirts were freed after spending six months in jail for violation of the emergency decree.  The meeting, which lasted 20 minutes at the Government House also included Justice Minister Peeraphan Saleeratpitak and Suwanna Suwanyuta, director general of the Department of Rights and Liberty Promotion and Protection.”

This is meant to make Abhisit look like a big shot who cares about these red shirts who have languished in prison. In fact, Abhisit and his regime are the ones responsible for their predicament. As PPT has shown several times, many of these detainees have been arrested on fabricated charges and have been kept in very poor conditions. Being the “big shot who cares” reinforces some of the worst elements of Thailand’s hierarchical power structure.

On a slightly different point, does any reader know more about the Orwellian-sounding Department of Rights and Liberty Promotion and Protection? We’ve heard of an agency with this name in Japan, but we do not recall this for Thailand. Let us know.



4 responses

12 11 2010
CRES and the army make the decisions « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and the army make the decisions In our post yesterday on poster boy for the regime Abhisit Vejjajiva and bailed red shirts, PPT linked to an […]

16 11 2010
PM summons released Reds-Bangkok Pundit « FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand

[…] A cynic would say this is about Abhisit maintaining his poster boy image and it is a photo opportunity, but well BP sees it is at least a positive step. If Abhisit really wants to reduce the anger and […]

27 11 2010
Still arresting red shirts | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] shirts finally getting bail, and some even meeting Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in one of his publicity stunts, Prachatai has a short story on the arrest of another red shirt accused of participating in the […]

6 12 2010
Abhisit and repressing red shirts | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] shirt paraphernalia, including flip-flops that had his face on them. The second was about Abhisit summoning two of three red shirts released on bail to meet […]

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