Updated: Virus, crisis, repression reflex

17 07 2020

No one seems to quite understand why Thailand has not been ravaged by the virus. The New York Times and The Economist have both suggested multiple possible explanations.

While the regime’s response was initially chaotic and riddled with contradictions and errors, not least by a Minister for Public Health who sometimes appeared balmy. Perhaps one reason for Thailand’s virus success has had to do with sidelining Anutin Charnvirakul.

With the recent errors and initial attempts to cover-up and shift blame, the regime again seems prone to chaos and manic decision-making. When this happens, the regime resorts to repression:

Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said two men, identified as Nutchanon Payakaphan and Panupong Jadnok, were arrested Wednesday [in Rayong] for failing to comply with police orders. The pair, who said they were there to protest [Gen] Prayut[h Chan-ocha]’s handling of the coronavirus, said they did not do anything wrong.

“I didn’t find my action to resist police functions,” Panupong said. “When I asked why they were taking me, they didn’t say anything. They took me into the car and left me without taking me into custody, so I walked out…”.

The two were protecting as a prime ministerial motorcade was passing. Clearly, when pressed, The Dictator doesn’t need to see dissidents and so the repression reflex kicks in.

Update: As usual, the cops have been told to concoct charges against the two protesters in Rayong. The “two youth leaders from the Eastern Youths for Democracy (เยาวชนตะวันออกเพื่อประชาธิปไตย) … the police [belatedly] responded with the four following allegations against the protesters:

  • Violation of Emergency Decree
  • Violation of the Communicable Disease Act
  • Defying official orders
  • Escaping detention/arrest…”

This is the usual buffalo manure and Amnesty International Thailand has called the regime out: “Piyanut Kotesan, director of Amnesty International Thailand, said that the state officials have a duty to protect citizens’ rights and not silence and punish them merely on the grounds of exercising their freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.”

Not this regime and not its cops. Their task is repression.


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