Cracking down

16 12 2014

The military dictatorship will brook no opposition and will not allow any event that appears to them to be “political.” It keeps careful watch over people and regions it considers politically suspect.

Several recent media stories point to the military dictatorship’s ongoing political repression.

At Prachatai, several actions by the “more than 60 military and police officers on Monday stormed into the venue planned for the public discussion on land rights and forced the organizers to cancel the meeting.” They threatened leaders with arrest. Some 103 farmers in the northeast face charges on land encroachment as a result of the military junta’s “Return the Forest policy,” and 1,764 warrants have been issued against farmers.

At Khaosod, it is reported that “military officers have threatened to revoke the licenses of community radio stations in northeastern Thailand” if they do not “air all official state announcements in compliance with orders from Thailand’s military junta and the National Broadcasting and Television Commission (NBTC)…”. An NBTC official complained that “dozens” of stations failed to broadcast “Thailand Moves Forward,” which is the “daily 15-minute segment produced by the state that extols the military junta’s efforts to reform Thailand’s economic, social, and political sectors.” Put on the propaganda or be closed!

Some stations were warned “against criticisng the military junta on the airwaves.” Criticizing the junta was said to constitute “a threat to the security of the state…”.

In an important story at Prachatai, Duangjai Puangkaew has reported her interactions with security officials that track her movements as a suspected political activist. Her account begins poignantly, stating: “With a perhaps unavoidable vulnerability, I write because I want to tell the outside world that each of us has a collar, although the lengths of our leashes vary. We become aware of the collars once we walk off the path mandated by those who force us to wear them.” Other activists have been threatened with violence as they are followed by military thugs.

This is a dark time for Thailand as the royalist elite puts its house in order to maintain its political, social and economic control in the next reign.


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