With 4 updates: The Dictator’s response II

22 10 2020

At about the time that a mass of demonstrators began to march from the Victory Monument, via a couple of half-hearted police road blocks, to Government House, The Dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha took over Thailand’s national pool broadcasters to explain how he was a democrat.

It may be stating the completely obvious, but we want to point out the contradictions in The Dictator-cum-fake-Democrat general’s speech.

That speech included accusations against the protesters (or their leaders) as violent, extremists, “unThai,” a minority and mob who seek chaos, and anti-monarchists. He didn’t use those terms, but everyone knows the code.

Listening but not hearing

It is Gen Prayudh’s failures, his repression and his lies that, as the pro-regime Bangkok Post reported, led to an ultimatum: “protesters have given the prime minister three days to release detained activists and step down, or face a new round of demonstrations.” We use the official text of The Dictator’s speech, released and published by Thai Enquirer. Protesters have dismissed his (fake) entreaties as too little, too late.

With demonstrators seeking to create a more democratic Thailand, Gen Prayuth calls on them to “sacrifice … their personal desires for the greater good of their country.” That is, to compromise with his illegitimate regime for something less than the protesters want.

He positions himself as “a national leader” who must look after “everyone in this country…”, while taking on the “very extreme” and protecting “the nation” from “dark forces that may seek to damage our country…”. He claims to speak and act for the “huge silent majority” and to rule the country “based on principle, the law, and the will of parliament as the ultimate representative of the people.”

Of course, this is a large pile of buffalo manure that paints the protesters as an extreme minority making “mob demands.”

Gen Prayuth speaks of the need to “step back” from a situation where “violence begets more violence.” But have the protesters been violent? Of course not. The violence has been from the regime and yellow-shirted stooges.

For Prayuth, his big lie is that the protesters who have been violent:

Last Friday night, we saw things that should never be in Thailand. We saw terrible crimes being committed against the police using metal rods and huge cutting implements in brutal attacks, with the aim of severely wounding fellow Thais. But when we look deeper, we can also see that, beyond a small group of ruthlessly violent people with bad intentions….

How high?

Go back and look. Really? Maybe he’s confused. PPT has reviewed all of our collected media reports from that day and there are no reports of such violence by protesters that we can find. All the reports are of the police and their harsh actions to disperse the crowd, which Prayuth does mention, and seems to back away from such tactics.

But then The Dictator switches to “offences against institutions that are held in the highest respect.” He means the monarchy.

His “solution” to the problems he faces is “to discuss and resolve these differences through the parliamentary process. It is a slow process, but it is one that best avoids injury to our nation. We must show the maturity and patience to take the middle path.”

There’s a couple of problems with this. First, Gen Prayuth was not prepared to do this in 2014. Then, he overthrew and elected government, did not support elections, ditched the constitution and imposed a regime of draconian repression, filling parliament with his cronies and rigged the constitutional and electoral system. Why believe he’s had a change of mind? Second, the parliament that exists today is the bastard child of the military coup. It is stacked with an unelected senate that was selected by the junta – and Prayuth himself – and the “election” was rigged. How does Prayuth’s parliament find a way forward?

So, when Prayuth babbles about “respect the due process of law, and then let the will of the people be resolved in parliament,” he’s being completely disingenuous.

Mind. Clipped from a Reuters photo

Prayuth continues to base much of his “conviction” around the monarchy. That’s why he tells protesters to “turn down the volume on hateful and divisive talk.” As the protesters know, real reform must involve the monarchy. It must be discussed. The ultra-royalists fear this. They fear, as Prayuth does, that the foundation of the ruling order will be lost.

Update 1: In a demonstration of how empty Gen Prayuth’s speech was, within two hours of protesters giving him “a three day deadline to step down or face more demonstrations,” the protester who made the announcement, Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon, was arrested. The arrest was live streamed. Today, she was released, the court having “deemed the charges were not serious and that she still needed to attend classes and exams, so bail was granted without having to submit any guarantees.”

Update 2: Mind was released on bail today.

Update 3: The state of emergency “in Bangkok, and related orders,” has been revoked “effective from noon on Thursday,” with The Dictator saying that “the violence that prompted it is over.” We remain baffled by that claim.

Update 4: Prachatai has reproduced the letter/demand protesters presented for The Dictator last evening at Government House. It reads:

“Whereas I, Prayut Chan-o-cha, have used arbitrary power, bought and sold votes, threatened to impose a gangster’s constitution, traded benefits and positions and used the institution of the monarchy as a justification to get hold of the position of the Prime Minister,

“In order to maintain the dignity of my family, the dignity of the position of Prime Minister and the dignity of the country and to express my respect for the people who hold sovereign power, I, Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, hereby resign from the position of the Prime Minister.”


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23 10 2020
The Dictator and violence | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] found the iron bars and violence that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha babbles about, and it is the royalists being […]

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