Apirat, Jatuporn and the students

24 07 2020

With demonstrations against the regime spreading across the country, students continue to shine a light on the regime’s lack of legitimacy.

But the backlash has been swift and ultra-royalist. Some have been arguing that the students are a part of the lom chao republican plotting to bring down the monarchy.

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

In a stern ultra-royalist warning, Army boss Gen Apirat Kongsompong demanded that the protesters not “disrespect the royal institution” – he means the absentee king and the monarchy.

Gen Apirat babbled about “people’s rights and freedoms in a democratic system” – that can’t be Thailand – but worried that “protesters’ actions were making people feel uncomfortable.” He then speculated, like so many ultra-royalists, that “the current protest seemed like it may be part of a conspiracy but he refused to speculate who might be pulling the strings.”

Apparently Gen Apirat can’t get it through his thick skull that many of the younger generation aren’t interested in ageing generals and the absentee monarch, living off taxpayer monies.

Apirat being “democratic”

His meandering discussion raised the specter of 1976, when student demonstrators were massacred.

Meanwhile, an earlier Bangkok Post report brought a royalist warning from an unlikely source: Jatuporn Promphan, chairman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD). He said that attacking the monarchy left the activists open to “a public backlash…”.

Jatuporn “said the students must not drag the monarchy into their activism.” He worried that republicanism “would end with huge losses like in the past…”.

Such advice is probably not needed by the students. They are well educated, quite politically savvy and of a different generation. They may appreciate his efforts in the past and his time in jail, but they probably disagree with Jatuporn’s political capitulation when he declared:

I’d like to ask these students to keep a clear head and bear in mind that Thailand will [always] be governed by a constitutional monarchy that will serve as [the kingdom’s] guard….

He is not someone this generation of very young activists listens to, distinguishing themselves from the battles of the 2000s and 2010s with new ideas and methods.



2 responses

30 07 2020
Rising rightists | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] denunciation of the students as part of a “plot” to bring down the monarchy. This includes the Army commander Gen Apirat Kongsompong. Last week saw the first counter-protest, at Army […]

3 11 2020
Going to the dark side | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] after he went bonkers royalist a few weeks ago, Jatuporn Promphan’s latest rant suggests that the former United Front for […]

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