Nation, monarchy and crisis

25 11 2013

PPT can’t go through all of the news that is coming out as some newspapers provide a blow-by-blow (and breathless) account of the demonstrations to bring down the elected government. However, we can highlight some points from the English-language reporting.

One of the reports we saw earlier today which seemed revealing of the aims of the protest leaders was at Bangkok Pundit, where it was reported that Suthep Thaugsuban had called for reform in Thailand that would make the country’s administration a genuine monarchy. That’s PPT’s translation, and modifies Pundit’s a little:

Last night, we saw the anti-Thaksin protesters unite on a single stage. Prachatai has the quotes of what Suthep said and called for two things. First, we must join together to completely eliminate the Thaksin system from Thai territory )”ข้อที่ 1 เราต้องร่วมใจกันขจัดระบอบทักษิณให้สิ้นซากพ้นแผ่นดินไทย”) and second, we will fuse our heads together to change and reform Thailand so that Thailand becomes an administration system by monarchy in a true form (ข้อที่ 2 เราจะหลอมหัวในด้วยกันเปลี่ยนแปลงปฏิรูปประเทศไทย ให้เป็นประเทศไทยที่ปกครองด้วยระบอบพระมหากษัตริย์ ที่สมบูรณ์แบบอย่างแท้จริง.)

Pundit has the ASTV clip showing Suthep saying this as he follows yellow-shirted leader Suriyasai Katasila, calling all of the leadership “ajarn.” In fact, they are respected teachers in the sense that the tactics and ideas are all those of the People’s Alliance for Democracy over the past (almost) decade. Styling himself and his supporters as fighting for country and people, Suthep clearly expresses a preference for a “real monarchy” and Suriyasai expresses support.

As Pundit notes, the Democrat Party has tried to play this down as a slip of the tongue, but this is disingenuous.

The monarchy has become involved, whether they like it or not. At Khaosod, the crown prince is reported by a senior policeman:

“His Royal Highness has summoned me to his palace earlier this evening”, Pol.Gen. Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said, “He is very concerned about his royal subjects. He doesn′t want to see Thai people fighting each other”…. Pol.Gen. Kamronwit also said the Crown Prince has explicitly urged all Thais to defuse the tension by dialogues and peaceful negotiations. “I think we all should obey His Royal Highness,” the police chief added.

In a constitutional monarchy, royals are meant to stay quiet, and this is an expression of concern that was probably best left unsaid, especially as it got caught up in criticism of “[s]ome of the protesters” who have decided “to block the roads around Nang Loeng Intersection” that “directly interferes with the Crown Prince′s scheduled travel route.” The policeman said: “They refuse to move and open the roads for the royal convoy…”.

Bangkok Pundit – doing some excellent work – reports another royal plea that suggests attempts by the protesters to have the palace involved in nefarious political positioning that PPT would link to Suthep’s slip of the tongue, where he said what had really been the tenor of discussions amongst the protest leadership. Pundit also points to the beginnings of calls for the king to intervene, suggestive of a “crisis intervention” like 1992.

Suthep has already promised a crisis by declaring that “the ultimate goal of the protest is to uproot the Thaksin regime and the protest will not end unless the goal is achieved.” He added:

“We won’t stop even if [premier] Yingluck Shinawatra resigns or the House is dissolved,” Mr Suthep told the crowd, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands….  “Our demonstration will continue until we can get rid of the Thaksin regime.” …  However, Mr Suthep maintained that the battle would not last long. “This battle will end in three days,” he said.

Three days seems like a prediction that would be difficult to make unless one had word of high-level intervention or the protest leadership planned violence. It may be the latter given that The Nation is reporting “chaos” after Suthep invited protesters to storm the Budget Bureau “peacefully.” Other protesters have been testing police lines.

Meanwhile, Suthep’s Harry Dunne, Abhisit Vejjajiva has political amnesia (or hopes that the rest of the world does) when he prattles on about “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Pheu Thai Party [needing] to take responsibility for the ongoing protests.” He went on to declare that “the high number of people gathering at Rajdamnoen is a significant expression of Thai society who want to see a change.” Don’t recall Abhisit making such a point when he faced larger demonstrations in 2010. It gets more disingenuous when he says:  “It’s a pity that we do not see how the PM and the government will respond to the call. They just repeatedly say ‘please sit and talk’…”. He is simply lying for the media for Suthep has already ruled this out.


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25 11 2013
On Suthep, monarchy and violence | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In an earlier post we mentioned Suthep Thaugsuban’s call to make the country’s administration a genuine monarchy. Jakrapob Penkair, who says this was a call for an absolute monarchy, comments at Asia Provocateur. He notes that “… Suthep is practically changing his stage rhetoric from anti-government into anti-democratic regime-change.” Revealing its bias, The Nation is reporting only the Democrat Party’s “fixed” version of Suthep’s call for a change of government, claiming he said: […]

25 11 2013
On Suthep, monarchy and violence | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] In an earlier post we mentioned Suthep Thaugsuban’s call to make the country’s administration a genuine monarchy. Jakrapob Penkair, who says this was a call for an absolute monarchy, comments at Asia Provocateur. He notes that “… Suthep is practically changing his stage rhetoric from anti-government into anti-democratic regime-change.” Revealing its bias, The Nation is reporting only the Democrat Party’s “fixed” version of Suthep’s call for a change of government, claiming he said: […]




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