Pressuring red shirts

27 11 2012

Yesterday PPT posted on how the investigations of the 2010 crackdown on protesters was keeping some pressure on the military brass. In Thailand, however, the battle between the forces of royalist reaction and the red shirt-Puea Thai-Thaksin Shinawatra alliance takes several forms, and as has been seen in recent years, several elements of the judiciary have supported the royalist cause. This is why there are “dueling” cases in several courts at several levels. So it is that as those seeking accountability for the crackdown make some progress, the other side pushes forward with cases against red shirts and their supporters.

The latest in this see-sawing action is seen in an AFP report that continues the judicial action against up to 24 red shirt leaders charged with “terrorism” over the 2010 events. If the Pitak Siam action failed to incite red shirts, as AFP suggests, this “case … risks inflaming … political tensions.” Terrorism charges carry the legal possibility of death sentences.

While the red shirt leaders “say they are confident they can prove their innocence,” the cases will be used to incite reactions on both sides, especially as the cases may drag on for years.

Interestingly, former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has been in the spotlight for his enthusiastic repression of red shirts, “insisted the protest leaders should accept responsibility…”. It isn’t quite clear what they should accept responsibility for. Abhisit says nothing about his own responsibility for the murder of protesters by state forces under his regime. He merely states that “his government had no choice but to take tough action.” Yep, no choice.

We assume he means that the choice of going to an election – the red shirt demand – was “no choice” because he knew that his royalist government, hoisted into place by palace and military, could never win an election. Hence, he had no choice other than to suppress protesters with extreme force that broke international laws and norms. His refusal to call an election led meant his choice was to crack down on protesters.



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