Fear and repression II

25 07 2017

As PPT said in a recent post, the “threats,” “enemies” and “opposition” that give the military dictatorship the shakes are mainly red shirts, elements of the Puea Thai Party and the Shinawatra clan and its associates. Despite more than three years of heavy duty repression, the military and anti-democrats live in fear that they may rise again.

Supporters of Yingluck Shinawatra have again been warned against participating in public gatherings when the Supreme Court hands down a ruling on her controversial rice-pledging scheme next month.

The new warning is from The Dictator. General Prayuth Chan-ocha said that “security [he mean repression] remains the top priority for the regime and anyone who attempts to challenge the law [he means the junta] by mobilising a crowd with malicious intent would face legal consequences [he means repression].”

General Prayuth is flummoxed and worried by “reports that huge crowds would show up to extend their support to Ms Yingluck on Aug 25 when the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions is due to hand down its ruling.” His response is: “You can love anyone [he means Yingluck], but [you] shouldn’t cause trouble for others [he means the junta and its minions at the court] or undermine the law. If anyone mobilises crowds they must know they are breaking the law…”.

Somewhat oddly, Army boss and junta secretary-general General Chalermchai Sitthisart seemed less worried, simply saying that the junta “will have to ‘regulate’ people who arrive to support Ms Yingluck next month.” He then made a very unusual remark: “The NCPO [junta] does not prohibit people from coming to support her in good faith but any organised gatherings are against the law…”.

Who does one believe? The point about “organizing” and “mobilizing” seems clear, but one general is saying stay home and the other is saying come if you are mobilized.

Even odder, “Gen Chalermchai insisted the NCPO will not dispatch soldiers to block her supporters from Pheu Thai or red-shirt strongholds…”. That seems to contradict earlier reports.

Echoing some of his anti-democrat members, (anti-)Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva reckoned that gathering supporters of Yingluck at the court was an “implicit threat …[and] may be an attempt to pressure the judges.”

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has begun the process of seizing Yingluck’s assets, “based on an administrative order,” seeking some $1 billion “in compensation for her alleged dereliction of duty in the rice-pledging scheme.”