Readers who looked at an earlier PPT post, citing failed Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, will recall that he was reported as having “praised” The Dictator and self-appointed military Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha for “allowing the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship to set up an anti-fraud centre for the referendum as long as it did not break any laws.”
What does he say now?
The Bangkok Post reports that The Dictator “has given a final warning to the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship not to open provincial fraud investigation centres ahead of the Aug 7 referendum.”
We doubt this is because The Dictator simply wants to cover up fraud by the regime that desperately wants a Yes vote. After all, the corrupt regime has been able to do almost anything it desires since it grabbed power. Rather, this is mostly about maintaining the repression of political opponents.
The dictatorial prime minister threatened and warned red shirts, saying the UDD was “risking retaliation after it dismissed his government’s previous warnings over the fraud centres.” The General ranted that the “centres could not be permitted…”. And on he went: “I insist that the centres can’t be opened as the law bans [political] gatherings of more than five persons.”
Laws created by the junta protect it by allowing the repression of anyone it considers a political group. However, as has been demonstrated umpteen times, this ban does not apply to the junta’s political allies.
The Dictator went further and threatened those who oppose the junta’s draft charter. He “warned Pheu Thai politicians not to wear T-shirts or post Facebook messages saying that they reject the constitution. That could result in charges.”
Exactly why opposing the charter is illegal is not clear, but we are sure that the the junta can come up with something to make such individual actions illegal.
In fact, the UDD “plans to launch the [anti-fraud] centres today.” It argues that its activities are “not … illegal because they involve fraud monitoring, not politics.” As is well known, anything the junta’s political opponents do is “illegal” if the junta decides it is.
Jatuporn Promphan challenged the junta: “”If the regime considers this is illegal, come and arrest us. We’re ready.”
It could be an interesting day.