Updated: On Suthep, monarchy and violence

25 11 2013

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:

“A people’s government will be established to amend the country’s rules so that it is genuinely a democracy under constitutional monarchy,” he said…. Suthep encouraged people who back the protesters’ cause to seize state power “with their bare hands” by occupying government offices all across the country.

In amongst all of this, the palace managed to get out some propaganda pictures of the beach-side monarch. This goes hand-in-hand with bizarre denials of any behind-the-scenes activism in Thailand, claims that the foreign media “hate” or “loathe” the monarchy, and manufactured complaints about the foreign media’s “bias,” that lend themselves to xenophobia and violence. Such complaints mirror elite, palace and royalist barking about CNN and other media during red shirt protests.

Suthep’s demonstrators are being egged on with calls to violence couched in terms of saving the country and monarchy. As the Bangkok Post states, he “ordered protesters to storm into the offices of the Finance Ministry and the Budget Bureau in the afternoon. Later, another group of demonstrators seized offices inside the Foreign Affairs Ministry.”

The TJA executive meets on lese majeste

The TJA executive meets

There have been intimidatory challenges to the media and attacks on journalists. Remarkably, the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and the Thai Journalists’ Association could only manage a mild statement on such intimidation, while essentially justifying the actions of protesters. Such bias is expected from the ultra-royalist organizations, mirroring their previous bias.

The imagery has been violent for some days, and Suthep’s call for a genuine monarchy is mirrored in this photo of demonstrators from a weeks or so ago attacking the World Court and calling for the heads of “traitors,” while displaying royal and royalist paraphernalia:

Beheadings

Some of this violence and direct action has caused the Yingluck Shinawatra government to extend the Internal Security Act to cover Bangkok, Nonthaburi and other nearby areas.

Update: The Bangkok Post is reporting that:

… Suthep Thaugsuban has now called on demonstrators to seize state offices nationwide, including provincial halls and district offices, after protesters on Monday stormed the Finance Ministry, the Budget Bureau, the Foreign Ministry and the Pubic Relations Department (PRD).

As with the PAD demonstrations in 2008, this illegal confrontation is meant to create a crisis situation that will propel some action by judiciary, palace or military. Does Suthep have a plan? Who does he hope will intervene?


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