Further updated: Going over the brink

24 02 2014

The attack on people at an anti-democrat rally in Trat and a grenade attack at Rajaprasong suggests yet another step has been taken that moves Thailand’s politics over the brink. We stress that the perpetrators of these two acts have not and are unlikely to be identified. While there might be claims of “third hands,” “police revenge,” and so on, the targeting of the attacks is clear.

The anti-democrats have always and falsely portrayed themselves as “unarmed” and “peaceful,” but this has never been the case. One of the base tactics employed by the extremists amongst the anti-democrats has been to provoke violence from the authorities. There has been relatively limited responses to these provocations.

Early on, when red shirts were holding competing rallies in Bangkok, and the anti-democrats attacked them, it seemed that demonstrator on demonstrator violence might get out of had. However, red shirts quickly dispersed, and the Yingluck Shinawatra government soon adopted a light-handed approach, and in the face of extreme provocation, when there were clashes, seemed to withdraw and compromise on territory, sometimes to the point of appearing very weak.

The brief battle between police and anti-democrats last week, for its deaths and injuries was still within the pattern of anti-democrat attacks on authorities.

What had changed, was the identification of military-like teams of shooters who attacked authorities with military-style weapons and grenades. This raising of the stakes pushed the conflict towards the brink.

The decision by the Civil Court that effectively prevented the authorities from using any emergency measures against the anti-democrats demonstrated more of the blatant double standards in the judiciary.

The anti-democrat’s provocations not only continued, but Suthep Thaugsuban began taunting red shirts to essentially “come out and fight.” He promised they would be shot down by his militants. As might be expected, those supporting the anti-democrats blame red shirts for provocation, a clearly untenable claim given that the official red shirts have been quiescent since late November.

Such provocations appear to have pushed the conflict over the brink and opened the way for those associated with both sides – anti-democrats and red shirts – to battle each other in events that could easily spiral out of control, leading to the military, judiciary and the shadowy old men to seek to intervene more directly and quickly than the plan they seem to have been following.

Update 1: The Army stakes a claim for intervention/ More concern about the economy/ Monk calls for media accuracy, forgetting Blue Sky, ASTV and other anti-democrat media/ Bangkok Post’s Veera proves monk’s double standards/ red shirts finally rally/ Navy officer again blames “foreigners” for violence

Update 2: Spooner on terror/ trading accusations/ deals/ 21 dead, 762 injured/ Bangkok Pundit on violence/ McCargo backgrounder/ mad navy guy on “foreigners”/ CNN on violence/ Democracy Now! on violence/


Actions

Information

2 responses

1 03 2014
Shutdown ends | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] tanks while some soldiers, ex- and active, were actively engaged in urban warfare. The descent into potentially uncontrollable violence was also too scary for the old men who still believe that Thailand belongs to […]

1 03 2014
Shutdown ends | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] tanks while some soldiers, ex- and active, were actively engaged in urban warfare. The descent into potentially uncontrollable violence was also too scary for the old men who still believe that Thailand belongs to […]