Closing Bangkok and coup talk

2 01 2014

Anti-democracy protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has decided that 13 January is the day his people will close down central Bangkok with protests and gridlock. Suthep has issued a series of demands that sound like threats:

When operation “seize Bangkok” is successful, television stations should carry live coverage of the announcement by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said….

In a speech delivered to protesters at Democracy Monument in Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Wednesday night, Mr Suthep said all television stations would be able to work normally but when the PDRC has any announcement it should be broadcast live. If some TV stations such as Channel 9 or Channel 11 could not do that, they must show a “black screen”.

From 9 a.m. on the 13th, “protesters planned for a mass rally to shut down the whole of [inner] Bangkok … for up to 20 days.” The gridlock was to be accomplished through “20 stages … at intersections in inner Bangkok…”. Suthep said only “one traffic lane would be opened for ambulances and entrances to hospitals would remain open.” No state vehicles could travel in Bangkok. Nor could taxi drivers enter the inner city.

In addition, Suthep “threatened to cut electricity and tap water to homes of caretaker ministers and at all government office buildings.”

With barricades going up, more apparently intimidatory shots being fired, and an emergency decree being considered, temperatures are rising.Nuamthong, taxi and tank

Meanwhile, at The Nation, red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan has said red shirts would “keep Bangkok open on January 13 to counter the campaign by the anti-government protesters to shut down the capital.” He stated:

… the time had come for people, red shirt protesters among them, to stand up and fight against what he called the elite’s network, which planned to mobilise southerners to oust the elected government.

“We are ready. If we lose democracy, we don’t know what will happen. This month is the month of ‘make or break’. Please wait for a signal from us. We will fight under peaceful principles,” he said.

He also asked other provinces to stage overture rallies starting from January 5, the same date as anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has called for an overture before laying siege to Bangkok on January 13.

A coup looks ever closer as the military gets fidgety. Former Democrat Party Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai, ironically at the center of a corruption scandal when at that ministry, has spoken about a coup and goads the military:

I honestly don’t think the PDRC needs a coup. We just want to see that the military can oust this evil government. The military should show its stance by taking the people’s side. This is no time to say it must remain neutral.

Thais are now the rebels, while soldiers are still proud to just survive.

With Prime Minister Yingluck having called on the “military to help police enforce law and order” in the event of a “Bangkok shutdown,” rumors of a coup are becoming ever stronger. as the Army decides which side to fall on. PPT would be pretty sure they will go with their “natural” allies on the right for the post-Sarit military has never supported a troubled civilian government. (The claim in this article that, “In times of trouble, people still pin their hopes on the military, calling for men in uniform to intervene,” is a fabrication. Only particular people call for a coup, and in recent years, these have all been yellow shirts, royalists and fascists.)


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