Further updated: The things they say

15 09 2020

A day or so ago the Bangkok Post reported that recently- appointed government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said “his ambition is to facilitate a dialogue with people from different political backgrounds…”.

That would sound noble and good except that he said this “dialogue” was to “help them to understand how hard the government led by Prime Minister [Gen] Prayut Chan-o-cha is working for them.” That seems a one-way dialogue street. And, it comes from a former Democrat Party MP who has since joined the regime’s Palang Pracharath Party (after losing in the last election) and People’s Democratic Reform Committee activist, now being rewarded by being in the pay of the military-backed regime.

Needless to say, all of the babble he now spits out about “dialogue” bears no relationship at all to the way he behaved in bringing down the elected government and supporting the 2014 military coup.

The Nation reports that all that bleating about “dialogue” amounts to little when fellow PDRC activist against elected government Paiboon Nititawan, now a Palang Pracharat MP, sent the regime party’s response on constitutional amendment to the House speaker Chuan Leekpai. The party opposed all opposition suggestions and suggested that there were “irregularities” and “might not be in accord with the Constitution…”.

And, it seems, democracy should not be a part of “dialogue.” According to a report, Labor Minister and Palang Pracharath honcho Suchat Chomklin has “warned that a pro-democracy rally set for Saturday at Thammasat University would hurt the recovery by disrupting government plans to provide over one million jobs.” Some of this sounds like some of the techno-fascist virus chatter so common of many regimes, both authoritarian and “democratic,” but the use of the emergency decree remains “handy” for the regime in Bangkok.

There’s more of it, with the military claiming it is not seeking to prevent northeasterners from joining this weekend’s rally in Bangkok. At the same time, the military admits to extensive monitoring and repression in the region: “Our intelligence units have been closely monitoring political movements in the Northeast region to assess whether the situation could turn violent in order to employ suitable preventive measures within the framework of national security…”.

Then there’s the premier, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha saying:

The government would not do anything to trigger violence at the major anti-government rally on September 19, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday.

Prayut said he had ordered all relevant state agencies to ensure the safety of the demonstrators and not to allow any third party to take advantage of the event.

But then saying that protesters should not “accuse the Government of harassment if they break the law and authorities take legal action against them for doing so.”

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

Some of this talk is worrying journalists. The Press Council of Thailand, the Thai Journalists Association, the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, the Council of Broadcast Media Profession of Thailand, the Online News Producers Association and the Thai Media Central Labour Union have issued a joint statement that indicates they are fearful of violence on the weekend. They state:

they are not parties involved in the current political conflict and, hence, should not be targeted by the opposing elements and should be allowed to perform their duty independently in reporting the on the protests, in accordance with their ethical and professional standards, free from all forms of coercion or pressure.

Given that no demonstration in this round has been violent – and there have been dozens of them – we can only wonder if the journalists know something. Perhaps they should be more ethical and announce what they know. Or, if they are just being “careful,” perhaps they’d be better to condemn violence.

Update 1: The regime seems to be taunting the students, saying that the rally on Saturday will not be very large and that the students are not “professional” in protest and that the students are not united. Even so, more than 2,000 police officers are being mobilized for the rally and is now saying there will be “an influx of protesters travelling from other provinces to join the planned anti-government demonstration by students and supporters…”.

Update 2: The Thai Enquirer reports:

According to police estimates, up to 50,000 protesters could attend the weekend rallies. The police official told Thai Enquirer that several divisions of police are prepared to help maintain security throughout the weekend with reserves called in from various precincts.

At the same time, it reports a leaked memo that has been on social media, suggesting that the military will play a role on Saturday. This is denied and the memo said to be fake, but some are concerned that recent movements of soldiers and equipment and the memo is suggestive of either: (a) coup plotting; (b) intimidation of the students; or (c) a clampdown in the offing.


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