No regime compromise

19 11 2020

The regime has delivered its verdict on the waves of demonstrations and calls for constitutional reform. There won’t be any substantive reform and the diddling around the edges will be at the pleasure of the regime.

The Bangkok Post reports that the most democratic iLaw proposal, supported by almost 100,000 and reflecting the core of the protesters’ demands has been dumped, with almost unanimous support of the junta-appointed senators and of the military spawn party Palang Pracharath.

The same unelected senators and regime flunkies “overwhelmingly backed the government-sponsored versions” of (non)reform. The two versions that passed the first reading were the government draft that “would set up a committee of elected and appointed members to write a new charter within 120 days, leaving Chapters 1 and 2 concerning the monarchy untouched,” while the “opposition” version “requires an elected charter-drafting committee to write a new charter within 240 days, also leaving Chapters 1 and 2 untouched.”

The result of the vote is that “a 45-member committee was set up to scrutinise the drafts before their second and third readings.” While iLaw manager Yingcheep Atchanont expressed some optimism that the “door for charter amendments has been cracked open…”, it seems pretty clear that the government’s version will be approved unless something massive happens.

Pro-democracy demonstrators had arrived “in their thousands again on Wednesday at Ratchaprasong Intersection, where they besieged Royal Thai Police Headquarters and splashed paint all over its walls.” It was clear that the protesters “were expressing their anger at police for using water cannon and tear gas on protesters outside Parliament on Tuesday while failing to prevent clashes with royalist counter-protesters. The violence left at least 55 injured, six with gunshot wounds.”

The Bangkok Post reports the protesters’ anger was heightened by “the rejection of the so-called ‘people’s draft’ of amendments to the constitution.” Even so, they avoided direct confrontation with the police, daubing paint and slogans across the wall of the police headquarters.

Another Bangkok Post report is that protest leader Jatuphat Boonpattarasaksa declared that the rejection of the “people’s constitution amendment draft has left anti-government protesters with no other choice but to press on with their street protests to achieve their goals…”. He added that “Wednesday’s decision by parliament was the last chance at compromise.”

His compatriots at Free Youth “posted on its Facebook page accusations of most MPs and senators serving the dictator [inverted commas removed] and ignoring calls by the people.” They added that refusing to deal with the reform of the monarchy, “any new constitution that was drafted would not really serve the people…”.

Ending the rally on Wednesday evening, it was “announced they will hold another rally at the Crown Property Bureau on Nov 25.”

Clearly, as Thisrupt notices, protestors are well aware that the regime is “dragging its feet, using delaying tactics to exhaust the movement.” That means that the “heart of Thailand’s political conflict is the monarchy question.”

The speeches by rally leaders are now “addressed directly to … Rama 10 by his first name, Vajiralongkorn, and openly mock … his rule,” his lifestyle and his wealth.

At the parliament rally, “”[p]rotestors launched red balloons into the air. The words written on them were, ‘I order you to be under the constitution’.” Strikingly, the “derogatory กู (gu) [w]as the pronoun for ‘I’ and มึง (mueng) as ‘you’.”

As never before, discussion of monarchy reform is now widespread across society.

Thisrupt predicted that the regime may crack down harder.

Today, The Dictator has responded. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha lamented that the “situation is not easing in a good direction and there is a tendency for conflict to escalate into more violence. If not addressed, this could cause damage to the country and the beloved institution [he means the monarchy], as well as to peace and the safety of people’s lives and property…”. As a result, he declared that “the government and security agencies [will] … intensify their actions by using all laws and all articles to take action against demonstrators who break the law…”.

No compromise, no stepping back. More of the same and intensified arrests and repression.


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25 11 2020
Confrontation looms | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] and the multiple threats of arrest today have mounted. The regime has seemingly calculated that the events at police headquarters and the royal family’s PR blitz and its “demonstrated generosity,” that a […]

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