Monitoring Pitak Siam

21 11 2012

PPT received an emailed media advisory on red shirt proposals for monitoring the Pitak Siam rally. We reproduce it in full below:

Thai Red Shirts to Monitor Democrat Party-Backed March against Democracy

Following a visit to Thailand by U.S. President Barack Obama in which he expressed support for the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, Red Shirt groups are announcing plans to monitor and expose the financial supporters of an upcoming march against democracy by an extremist group backed by the Democrat Party.

According to Robert Amsterdam, lawyer to the Red Shirt group United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), this evidence gathering will also extend to any acts of violence, threats of violence and any other criminal enterprise associated with the anti-democratic extremists and its backers.

“This is a warning to all the extremists and their supporters that their attempt to sow instability and destroy Thailand’s hard-earned democracy will be made accountable before the law,” said Amsterdam. “Responsibility for this blatant assault on an elected government should also lie with those who stand behind the Democrat Party, such as Liberal International, who appear to have lost all sight of their principles and mission, standing by as their member party makes a mockery out of basic civil rights to vote and have leaders elected by the popular will, rather than by the end of a rifle.”

The protests against democracy in Bangkok are in part a response to the international recognition achieved by the current government that was never possible under the last coup-appointed administration of the former government. At a press conference Sunday 18th November President Obama stated he was “proud to stand beside the democratically elected leader of Thailand,” Prime Minister Yingluck, and that he was “very admiring” of the efforts of the Thai people to “restore and strengthen” democracy. Just one week earlier, Prime Minister Yingluck was granted audience with Queen Elizabeth II and met with UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

To conduct this process of evidence gathering this weekend, the UDD shall be employing legal monitors on the ground during anti-democracy protests and coordinating with the relevant authorities in Thailand to ensure, that should a coup or serious violence occur, those responsible are held to account by the international community. The purpose of the process is to catalogue, name and publish all the details of those involved with financially supporting the coup plotters. Once those funding the movement are revealed to the public, the UDD plans to call upon its +14 million members to boycott these businesses in Thailand.

Recent polls show that 94% of Bangkok citizens are opposed to the anti-democratic march.

PPT also draws attention to several posts at the Red Shirts blog that tell of rising red shirt concern over the Pitak Siam rally and its anti-democratic underpinnings. The calls for international solidarity in support of the elected government are worthy of particular attention.

Cameron cancels Thailand holiday

22 11 2010

The Telegraph in England reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron has canceled his increasingly controversial trip to Thailand following mounting criticism.

One  criticism was that the trip to a luxury resort “sent the wrong signal at a time when the country is facing widespread job losses and spending cuts.” Another was the “human rights record of the Thai government … [and] the fact that David Cameron was at Eton at the same time as the Thai Prime Minister, who is facing worldwide criticism for his handling of recent pro-democracy demonstrations, which ended in protesters being killed.”

It is reported that “the decision to cancel the holiday comes after Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha were urged to do so by their closest Downing Street advisers. Andy Coulson, Mr Cameron’s director of communications, intervened personally to urge the Prime Minister not to go, amid concerns that the trip could reignite personal criticism of him.”

It is added that: “Controversy over the trip was fuelled when it emerged that Mr Cameron and Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai Prime Minister, are both Old Etonians, and it was thought at first that Thailand might have been chosen because of the association. Downing Street dismissed this suggestion, but the denial failed to dampen criticism, including from human rights groups.”

Earlier PPT posts are here and here and Siam Voices on this story.

Cameron, Thailand and human rights

10 11 2010

The British Mail Online reports on the growing U.K. criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposed holiday in Thailand. Cameron’s decision on visiting Thailand is said to be “sending the wrong message.”

United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship “urged [Cameron] … to cancel his planned family Christmas holiday in Thailand because he would be seen to be supporting the country’s human rights abuses.” It said: “Anyone who shows support for this current government is showing support for the way they brutalised the protesters…. David Cameron should not come here because as a government leader he will be showing the world that he agrees with what the Thai government did.”

The report states that “Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn has already said that Mr Cameron should ‘think very carefully about the message he is sending,’ before he sets off with his family to a country that has seen protesters killed and badly injured in clashes with troops.”

The report notes that: “Weeks of turmoil which saw Red Shirts protesting against Mr Vejjajiva’s government taking over the streets of Bangkok resulted in the army being moved in to set up a ‘live fire zone’. In its report the United Front has documented the execution of a number of people by army snipers.”

There is speculation that Cameron and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, as Old Etonians, have a “special bond” and that this may be the reason for choosing Thailand. There is other speculation that the British leader will stay in luxury  £1,000 a night at a time when he is demanding huge budget cuts in Britain.


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