Updated: Protest news

14 01 2014

At The Nation there is another of those anonymous reports that claims insider knowledge, and thus needs to be considered with due skepticism.

While speculating on premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s decision-making, the report continues to mention Army boss Prayuth Chan-ocha’s advice to “his subordinates to prevent violence during the anti-government protest.” Apparently, he has said that soldiers, to “protect themselves from being attacked by unknown parties, soldiers should dress in plain clothes while guarding the many buildings of government agencies and their command posts…”. Again, this is from an unnamed source, but if true, is a dangerous move, opening the way for clandestine and guerrilla-like operations that would not be subject to any reasonable investigation and would allow impunity for any wrong-doing.

Meanwhile, just as they did in 2008, the anti-democracy protesters have declared their “shutdown” will go on until demands are met. Suthep Thaugsuban declared: “We will shut down the city. We will do it all days and we will do it everyday until we win…”. He vowed there would be no compromise.

In 2008, the shutdown was of airports, and provided the context for a hastily cobbled together judicial coup. This time, we believe the judiciary has been working more closely with the anti-democrats, and a judicial intervention – leading to the possible use of Section 7 of the constitution. This scenario will come to a relatively speedy conclusion and deliver on the demands of the protesters.

Numbers at Suthep’s rallies yesterday were relatively small, but as noted earlier, the anti-democracy movement only planned to “mobilise 35,000 people from seven southern provinces to shut down seven locations in the capital on Monday to paralyse Yingluck Shinawatra’s caretaker administration…. They noted that some middle-class people in Bangkok might join in, but the southerners are the core of the operation.”

In line with Suthep’s “must win” strategy, he has rejected any talks with the government regarding a postponement of the election. Following repeated “calls for postponement of the February 2 election, yesterday [the Yingluck government] softened its stance as pressure for a delay in holding the poll increased.” Yingluck called for “meetings with all sides regarding the Election Commission’s proposal for the election to be postponed…”.

Suthep immediately “ruled out his attendance at any talks on a possible postponement of the election.” He insisted his group would accept “nothing less than the mass resignation of the caretaker Cabinet, including Yingluck.” In essence, his group has no interest in any election.

More surprisingly, Election Commission member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn “expressed dissatisfaction yesterday at the government move to hold a multiparty meeting without first responding to the EC’s written call for postponement.” He predicted the politicized EC would not be involved in an event that can be viewed as a compromise and which seeks to discuss EC recommendations to the government. It seems that the EC works in tandem with the protesters, and when progress is made on EC suggestions, themselves with little legal basis, the EC simply adjusts its sights and, like its anti-democracy allies, rejects compromise.

Update 1: The Nation reports that “Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, Tuesday threatened to capture five caretaker Cabinet members.” The brief report continues:

Suthep alleged that the five ministers and Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai were the ones who encouraged Yingluck Shinawatra to remain in her position as the caretaker prime minister.

The five ministers are Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, and Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, Suthep said.


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25 12 2014
Of fools and other officials | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] that can be viewed as a compromise and which seeks to discuss EC recommendations to the government. We observed at the time that it seemed that the EC worked in tandem with the protesters, and when progress is made on EC […]

25 12 2014
Of fools and other officials I | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] that can be viewed as a compromise and which seeks to discuss EC recommendations to the government. We observed at the time that it seemed that the EC worked in tandem with the protesters, and when progress is made on EC […]