Palace PR at full throttle I

13 11 2020

The palace public relations machinery has long had to “manage” Vajiralongkorn’s “problems.” His explosive “divorces,” his erratic behavior and , and the rumors of violence, illnesses, philandering and associations with crime. Generally, the PR exercises revolved around strategies that had “worked” for his father.

The explosion of dissatisfaction with Vajiralongkorn that has been seen recently, reflecting tension over his neo-feudal absolutism, his bahavior and his preference for living in Germany, has seen a new twist on palace propaganda. This involves a rebranding of Vajiralongkorn and the younger royal family members as celebrities. This might be called the Hello! strategy. Obviously, this follows the model of royals in some other countries.

As PPT has said previously, we think this new PR strategy reflects the influence of the royal family’s younger women, including Queen Suthida, Princesses Bajrakitiyabha and Sirivannavari, and some of the harem.

After rousing the raucous royalists in Bangkok, and getting good PR in Thailand (always expected and demanded) but also internationally, with that CNN interview contributing to an image of “compromise” and “popularity,” ignoring the king’s unsteadiness and giving him an instant free pass on all his previous black marks, the palace “influencers” have decided to have the king do “populist tours.”

Reuters reports that “Vajiralongkorn wrote messages of national unity and love on Tuesday during a visit to the northeast of the country two days after protesters sent him a letter demanding royal reforms that would curb his powers.”

In a PR stunt, the king wrote a message to the governor of Udon Thani province: “We all love and care for each other. Take care of the country, help each other protect our country with goodness for prosperity and protect Thainess…”. Going full-on celebrity on a “picture of himself and the queen … the king wrote”: “Love the nation, love the people, cherish Thainess, real happiness.” Another message stated: ““Thank you for all the love and support. We love and care for each other. We must take care of the country, and we must help each other protect it with virtue for it to prosper. Preserve the marvel of Thainess…”.

If the protests against the king have been unprecedented, so is the palace PR response, seeking to create a new image for the king. Previous efforts at this kind of image making have been undone by Vajiralongkorn’s inability to stick with the PR plan and messages.

As these reports of “good king” are being managed, there’s also been “bad king” reports. Hype (Malaysia) had this”

King Maha Vajiralongkorn was married to his third wife, Srirasmi Suwadee, in 2001, before divorcing her in 2014.

Since then, the ex-princess is currently under house-arrest and has decided to take on life as a nun.

Back in 2014, Srirasmi’s uncle, parents, sister and three brothers were convicted with several offences, including “lèse-majesté”, which is defamation to the monarchy. They were all sentenced to prison with different offences and Srirasmi got her royal title stripped of the same year.

As aforementioned, Srirasmi is under house arrest as she hasn’t been seen in public ever since she was forced to leave the royal house. As per China Press, Thai royal experts have exposed photos of the King’s third wife in white robes with her head shaved, as a sign of her nunhood, at her house in Ratchaburi province in central Thailand.

In the photos, she can be seen living a simple life of planting seeds and sweeping leaves in her backyard, despite previously living as a monarch. However, it might not be so simple for her as her eyes tell a different story.

According to SCMP, she was forced to leave her son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, who is the next in line for the throne after the king. There are photos on the internet of Srirasmi’s last meeting with her son before she was forced to leave the palace.

We’re unsure of the exact reason behind her sadness but being under house-arrest while separated from your child can definitely drain one’s mental health.

But the PR/propaganda rattled on. In a Bangkok Post report it is stated that the king “has been told that many red-shirt villages that used to support former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra are now sworn to uphold the monarchy.” Apparently, the person doing the telling was the queen: “They are from the red-shirt villages to protect the monarchy…” she said as she and the king were “mingling with supporters at Wing 23 of the air force in Udon Thani on Tuesday night.”

Of course, many millions of red shirts never considered Thaksin an enemy of the monarchy, but the queen seems to have taken this position. How does she know? For one thing, the yellow shirts constructed this narrative and clearly Suthida has imbibed the yellow shirt kool-aid. She’s had this view reinforced by the fawning betrayers of the red shirts, Anon Saennan and Suporn Atthawong, both of whom sold out to the rightists long ago.

The king appreciates the turncoats. The regime has rewarded Suporn with legal cases dropped and lucrative positions.

As the report states:

Mr Suporn was prosecuted for disrupting the Asean summit in Pattaya in April 2009, but the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship member evaded the charges because police could not find him before the case expired in April last year.

An earlier Post report adds further detail, stating that Suporn:

a vice minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office. His appointment to this political post is said to be a reward for his defection from Pheu Thai to the pro-military Palang Pracharath Party prior to the March 24 election.

We assume the regime and the military are pouring funds into the Suporn-Anon anti-red shirt campaign.





A couple of corrections

26 03 2017

On a Sunday, as we read a few stories that continue to keep us glum about Thailand’s prospects for some political progress, as opposed to regression, we came across a couple of stories that appear to us to requires a little corrective attention.

The first is at Prachatai. Kornkritch Somjittranukit has a story on red shirt renegade Wuthipong Kachathamakul or Ko Tee as public enemy no. 1 for the old guys running the military junta. A couple of things bothered us a bit. One was mention of the 2009 Pattaya events without noting the role played by the Democrat Party’s Suthep Thaugsuban and his then new best friend Newin Chidchob who goaded and challenged red shirts with their own blue shirts, many of them being military and police in different clothes.

PDRC shooter

On the 2014 People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) seizure of the Lak Si District Office to prevent the 2 February election, mention is made of a “violent clash with Ko Tee and his supporters from Pathum Thani. The sound of gunfire came from both sides.” The latter is true but ignores something. After that event it was officially stated:

A police forensics director stated that his team’s investigation showed “39 shots have been fired from the position of PCAD protesters, and 3 shots from the direction of pro-election protesters.”

The second story is at the Bangkok Post. Editor Umesh Pandey briefly recounts the actions taken over the past few years as pro-Thaksin election winners were ditched, missing the important 2008 judicial coup. What bothered us was the headline, “Army needs to learn to be neutral.”

While the article doesn’t exactly amount that, the idea that the military could be neutral is baffling in the extreme. The military is now, after more than half a century of pro-monarchy and pro-elite military is firmly attached to the side of privilege, hierarchy, wealth and repression.





Red shirt protesters shot

21 04 2011

The attacks on red shirts appear to have (again) gone beyond the verbal and judicial. Pattaya One News reports that two red shirts “were shot and injured following an incident at the well-known Red Shirt protest site in Jomtien” on the morning of 21 April.

The attack occurred “as a team of red shirts were preparing the site for a rally which is taking place there on Saturday.” The injured were named as “Bajuab aged 49, a close friend of core red shirt leaders, was shot in his leg” and “Somshai aged 45 [who] was shot in his stomach and left leg and is currently fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit at the Pattaya Memorial Hospital.”

Witnesses said two young men “arrived on a motorbike with no license plate and opened fire, expelling 5 shots in the direction of the men. Both suspects were wearing black jackets and did not say anything prior to the shooting.”

It has been speculated that one of the shot men was an assistant to Arisman Pongruangrong.





Policing for a monarchy that requires protection

19 02 2011

A reader sent us this link to Pattaya People, headlined “King’s Protection Volunteers.” This link provides a useful follow-up to a New Mandala post earlier this week that had considerable detail, including the Ministry of Interior’s order to form these “King’s Protection Volunteers” nationally.

It seems that in the heart of red shirt activism on the Eastern Seaboard, the local officials are springing into action, with this short report:

On Friday morning at the Banglamung District Station [Amphur Office?], the District Sheriff [PPT thinks this could be the Nai Amphur, although this term has been used for Kamnan in the distant past] Mr. Mongkon Tamgittikoon hosted a meeting to talk with the groups sponsored by the Station, including the Housewives Volunteers, the Civilian Volunteers etc. The gathering was to introduce a new group, which will be named the King’s Protection Volunteers. This new assembly will focus on protecting the main institutions of the Thailand, which are the Nation, the Buddhist Religion and the Royal Family, especially HM the King and HM the Queen.

The Ministry of the Interior has been focused on this matter for a long time, and has decided to involve people in this mission. 30 provinces will be recruited to protect the nation’s institutions.

This is a great opportunity for people to show their loyalty to their country, especially during the period of 83th Birthday of HM the King Bhumibol…. The Ministry hopes to unify Thailand, which has many different thoughts and beliefs, into one to nation with freedom for all.

The same source has another story on a police event to protect the monarchy. It is also worth citing in full, including the comment that appears inadvertently left in the report and refers to this as “weird”:

On Thursday morning at Pattaya City Hall, the National Institutes Protection By House Police Volunteers Training Program was held by the Central Chonburi Police supervised by the Superintendent of Central Police Pol. Col. Gittipat Pongpanut to train many volunteers from the Pattaya City area to be able to protect their National Institutions which are, the Unity of Nation, the Buddhist Religion and Royal Family.

The training program was held in 3 classes at which the total of 1,929 trainees of the police represented every police station in the area of Pattaya to be ready to protect their King and Kingdom.

(Weird news unlike the one on Sat, 12th… this is the best I could do… as it is very confusing about the classes) YOU SAID IT!!

We assume this is part of an on-going celebration of the 83rd birthday, for the king is now headed to his 84th. PPT has to wonder if people take this kind of thing seriously and, if they do, whether ham-fisted efforts to “protect” the monarchy and related bits of state ideology are counter-productive, revealing an inherent weakness in the amart’s ideology.

More significantly, PPT wonders if this new group is another way of recruiting “volunteers” for a possible election campaign where we have no doubt the Ministry of Interior will pull out all stops to ensure the election of the current royalist coalition led by Abhisit Vejjajiva.





Red shirts and Prem, Abhisit and red shirts

19 10 2009

Bangkok Post (19 October 2009: “UDD takes legal action against Prem”) reports that the UDD has “filed a libel complaint with the police against Privy Council president and Statesman Gen Prem Tinsulanonda for his comments about former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh joining the Puea Thai Party.” This relates to an earlier PPT post here.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva  has vowed that no red shirt will get anywhere near the ASEAN summit venue (The Nation, 19 October 2009: “No red shirts in Cha-am and Hua Hin : PM”). Abhisit made this promise while referring to events in Pattaya that led to the Songkhran Uprising. He blamed the red shirts for the violence there, forgetting that his deputy, Suthep Taugsuban and his defacto coalition deputy Newin Chidchob played a large role in this by mobilizing so-called blue shirts to attack red shirts.

Abhisit was responding to reports that one red shirt leader “wanted to submit a petition to Asean leaders scheduled to meet in Cha-am and Hua Hin.” Impossible he said.  Suthep responded by saying that the “government may deploy additional security officials to the summit venues.”

Given that the government has the ISA in place and more than 10,000 troops stationed at the ASEAN meeting sites, why is the Democrat Party so spooked? Whenever the red shirts rally, the government attempts to appear strong and in control. In fact, though, they appear frightened and it seems that the red shirts have learned how to pull the government’s strings so that they over-react.





Final update: Korat, Bangkok and Srisaket

19 09 2009

Prem, double standards and protests that “improve the situation”

In this post PPT summarizes some of the reports on protests in Thailand on the 2006 coup anniversary.

Korat: The Nation (19 September 2009: “Red shirts end protest in Korat”) reports on the red shirt rally that was meant to be at the residence of Privy Councilor President General Prem Tinsulanonda in Nakhon Ratchasima. Prem is reportedly in the town. Protesters, said in one report to number 4,000 (Monsters & Critics) apparently failed to reach the compound “as they faced with barricades and hundreds of police” and joint forces of “police and soldiers [that] set up a blockage on a road leading to Gen Prem’s residence…”. The protesters called on Prem to stay out of politics and demanded that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva call an election. Many of the protesters then departed for Bangkok and the rally there.

Bangkok: Red shirt protesters were reported (The Nation, 19 September 2009: “No march to Prem’s residence”) by police to have decided not to rally at the army house Prem occupies. They said this was because he wasn’t there. However, the huge security presence was also daunting.

A separate report in The Nation (19 September 2009: “Hooligans ordered to incite unrest : Suthep”) says that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has claimed that several groups of unidentified “hooligans” have “received orders to create unrest during the red shirted protest on Saturday in Bangkok…”. Abhisit went further claiming that these groups were going to set off bombs (see the Bangkok Post report in the next paragraph). The last time this happened, in Pattaya in April, the “hooligans” were pro-government blue shirts reportedly organized by Newin Chidchob, apparently with Suthep’s blessing. Citing “intelligence reports,” Suthep said that the groups “were ordered to create violence” during Saturday’s rally, and added that the authorities had the “groups were under close watch.”

The Bangkok Post has a telling headline (19 September 2009: “Bangkok peaceful, yellow shirts riot at the border”). More on Srisaket below. The Post reports that: “the government imposed the draconian Internal Security Act once again for the latest red shirt demonstrations and deployed more than 9,000 soldiers and police to guard key locations.” PPT has emphasized this, noting an increase from previous reports.

At teh red shirt rally, United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leader Jatuporn Promphan,  in pouring rain and flooding told a crowd estimated at more than 5,000: “We came here today to mark the third anniversary of the coup, which has caused huge damage to the country…”. He demanded that  Abhisit resign and hold elections, and added: “This will be a peaceful protest and will end by midnight if the government does not use violence…”.

Srisaket: Meanwhile, the People’s Alliance for Democracy rallied some 5,000 supporters to their ultra-nationalist rally claiming that Thailand is losing territory to Cambodia in Srisaket province at the Preah Vihear Temple. The Nation (19 September 2009: “PM worries on clash in Si Sa Ket”) reports clashes between PAD and local villagers. Abhisit is said to have “expressed concerns” and is said that “he did not want to see Thais clash among themselves.” Abhisit wanted “peace talks” with PAD (Bangkok Post, 19 September 2009: “PM orders peace talk with PAD”). This is unremarkable because the close relationship between PAD and several senior Democrat Party leaders and Abhisit himself. He wanted the PAD leadership consulted. PAD leaders Chamlong Srimuang and Suriyasai Katasila urged that Abhisit send a representative to talk with Veera Somkwamkid, a PAD key member who led the rally, and Abhisit seems to have followed their advice. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep, who is meant to be in charge of security in Bangkok (see above)  is also said to be in charge at Srisaket.

Thai TV reported that many villagers were injured in the clash with PAD. Clashes between PAD and local villager also occurred the last time PAD rallied in this area. According to Bangkok Pundit, the pro-PAD ASTV/Manager proclaimed that: “Those who love the country were … hit on the head and many injuries.”

The Bangkok Post report noted above (19 September 2009: “Bangkok peaceful, yellow shirts riot at the border”) stated that television “showed yellow-clad protesters armed with sticks beating local villagers and Thai riot police, who pushed back with shields.” It also reported that catapults and sticks were used by both sides before police separated them. It confirmed that a number of villagers were injured in the clash. According to the Post, local residents “living near the disputed border area opposed the protest by the yellow shirts protesters as they believed it could impact Thailand’s cross-border trade economy and relations with Cambodia.” The BBC has some footage.

Apparently, “PAD demonstrators broke through barricades and marched towards the 11th century temple…”. Breaking news from the Bangkok Post (19 September 2009: “Anupong: Don’t enter disputed border”) has army chief General Anupong Paochinda warning and pleading with PAD protesters, lamely saying: “The protesters can say they love the country but going into the disputed area would be dangerous and there could still be landmines…”. He warned them that they might be arrested by Cambodian authorities (not Thai authorities?). Associated Press reported that the Cambodian security forces would certainly act if the yellow shirts entered Cambodia.

Anupong asserted: “The army will act in accordance with the government’s bilateral negotiation plan. We are now working on it and we will not do anything beyond this course…”. Remarkably he is also reported to have said: “protests can take place if it can help improve the situation.”

Update 1: When PPT checked at 8:30 p.m. Bangkok time, reports were coming in that some red shirt protesters got to Prem’s Bangkok residence. They carried a 500-metre-long banner saying “we want the 1997 charter back.” The group rallied for about an hour, apparently without incident (The Nation, 19 September 2009: “Red-shirt protesters disperse from Prem’s Sisao residence”). At the main rally, a red-shirt leader, Natthawut Saikua, waited for Thaksin’s video speech at at 8:30 p.m. and, contradicting earlier statements, promised a further march on Prem’s residence. Another leader, Jatuporn, threatened to prolong the protest if police use the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) against protesters. He was apparently responding to police statements that if the protesters turn violent, they would use water cannon and the LRAD.

At 7 p.m. the police estimated a crowd of 20,000. This number is confirmed in an AFP report (Brisbane Times, 19 September 2009: “Rival protests rock Thailand on coup anniversary”).

That report also updates the situation at Srisaket. It says that “[s]tick-wielding protesters from the movement clashed repeatedly with riot police and with villagers who were trying to keep them out of the temple area…”. It adds that the provincial governor said that: “[d]ozens of people were wounded, with 20 people hospitalised including one villager who was shot in the neck…”. Apparently PAD protesters withdrew when “the army agreed to allow 30 of them to go to the Thai territory near the temple on Sunday and read out a declaration…”.

Updates 2/3 (11 p.m. & 1:45 a.m. Bkk time): During the UDD rally, red shirts “mourned for the death of a taxi driver who hung himself to oppose the Sept 2006 coup. The UDD donated 50,000 baht to his wife on stage.” This refers to Nuamthong Praiwan, who first crashed his taxi into a tank. When he’d recovered he then committed suicide as an act protesting the coup and for democracy.

Thaksin spoke by video link, claiming to be “somewhere near Thailand.” He said that things had “not improved three years after the coup,” that “the people became poorer and became less happy after the coup,” and he called on the Abhisit government to “dissolve the House and called for charter amendments for a fresh start in politics.” He is also reported to have stated that: “At present, there are injustice and less human rights and freedom the Thai society” and pointed to the conflict in Srisaket. The Nation now has more on Thaksin’s speech. He apparently also pointed to double standards, human rights and fairness: “They accuse me of interfering with independent organisations, and what about the situation these days? They accused me of interfering in the mass media and what’s going on today?” He also promised to return soon.

There was no violence, no bombs, and no incitement by third parties reported in Bangkok or Korat. Violence appears to have been limited to the PAD in Srisaket.

On PAD in Srisaket, The Nation (20 September 2009: “17 injured in clash near Preah Vihear”) reported that 17 were injured there. It reports that teenagers “armed with sticks and slingshots attacked the yellow shirts as they marched through their village to Preah Vihear.” The villagers “feared [the rally] could spark a war with Cambodia. The villagers have already suffered from the temple being closed, which has cost them income from the lack of tourists. Access to their farms has also been blocked by the military since last year.”

The report says that “thousands of PAD protesters … managed to break the police and villagers’ barricades in Si Sa Ket’s Ban Phumsarol to reach the gate of Pha Mor Ee Daeng, next to Preah Vihear temple.” PAD leaders claimed that the “villagers were misinformed about the PAD mission.” PAD wanted the Abhisit government to “evict the Cambodians…”. The Srisaket governor “Rapee Phongpuphakit had lengthy negotiations with Veera but failed to get the protesters to leave the site.”

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep, still in Bangkok, claimed to not understand the PAD’s intent: “I don’t understand what is the purpose behind their protest…”.

Update 4: The Bangkok Post (20 September 2009: “PAD protest ends in bloodshed”)reports that martial law has been declared in Srisaket, but it remains unclear if this is the situation.

The report says that the government compromised with PAD allowing 76 PAD representatives “read aloud a prepared statement today at Pha Mor E Daeng, which is close to the disputed area.” Abhisit Vejjajiva said “giving the PAD its say could help restore peace.” He also promised that Anyone who “broke the law at the gathering would be punished…”.

The Post points to the role played by “so-called PAD guards” when the demonstrators “were stopped by hundreds of villagers…”. The “PAD guards broke through the barricades, taking protesters to a forest fire control station where they were prepared to spend the night.”

Following talks with “Suranaree Task Force commander Maj-Gen Chavalit Choonhasarn held talks for two hours after which the protesters retreated to the Sisa Asoke Buddhist community, which is a branch of Santi Asoke with close affiliations to the PAD.”

Meanwhile, Santi Asoke aficionado and PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang “distanced all five PAD leaders from the Preah Vihear campaign,” saying that they were not leading the protests at the border.

In the face of the government’s lack of even-handedness in dealing with the two groups, it is likely that the red shirts have gained some political ground vis-a-vis PAD and the government.





Agents provocateurs from Buriram?

30 08 2009

The Bangkok Post (30 August 2009: “Puea Thai wants security law lifted”) reports on the opposition Puea Thai Party calling for the ISA to be lifted in Bangkok.  According to the PTP spokesman, “the red-shirt group had put off its mass protest after it received a report about a group of people from Buri Ram province who may instigate violence if the rally took place.” Sounding like the PTP believes that a Pattaya-like provocation was in the works.





Violence predicted?

15 08 2009

The Bangkok Post (15 August 2009: “Police plan response for UDD petition handover”) appears to be predicting violence when the red shirts present their petition for Thaksin Shinwatra’s “royal pardon” and when a Supreme Court rubber saplings corruption case is decided.

Acting police chief Wichien Potposri has asked “demonstrators to maintain order and warned them not to approach the Grand Palace in huge numbers.” At the same time, police will “not block red shirt demonstrators from approaching the Grand Palace but will form a line to separate them from blue shirt protesters who are likely to show up at the adjacent Supreme Court.”

The blue shirts will be at the Supreme Court to support their founder and godfather Newin Chidchob.

The police have “asked the armed forces to have soldiers on standby in case Bangkok police seek their assistance on Monday.”

Meanwhile, red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship “said the Royal Household Bureau contacted his group to coordinate the submission of the petition and this contact proved people had the right to petition for a royal pardon for Thaksin.”

The red shirts expect 100,000 supporters to gather at Sanam Luang. They claim to have invited former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and some privy councillors to attend.

Readers will recall that the blue shirts, directed by Newin and officials from the government coordinated the police and military with the blue shirts in Pattaya in April. This led to attacks on the red shirts that developed into the Songkhran Uprising, put down by the military.

Update: The Nation (16 August 2009: “Thaksin petition will be thrown out: PM”) reports that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has stated (yet again) that the red shirt petition will be rejected. More interesting is his comment on potential violence. It is reported that Abhisit does not call on his ally Newin’s blue shirts to avoid violence and act lawfully. Rather he calls on the “red shirts to rally within the frame of the law after a report that they planned to stage a protest outside Government House.”

Meanwhile the military has declared that it is “ready to help police if they needed its support to keep the peace in the capital.”

These stories predicting violence might be justified given the events of April, but it is (yet again) a one-sided story being told. Hopefully the government will control third hands such as those reporting to Newin rather than unleashing them.





Blue shirts

16 04 2009

Bangkok Pundit (16 April 2009: “What About the Blue Shirts?”) has a valuable post on the so-called blue shirts and the need to recall their actions in Pattaya during the ASEAN summit clashes. The blue shirts appear to have been involved with the government, the military and Newin Chidchob.





Blue shirts “protect the institution”

11 04 2009

Nirmal Ghosh has been reporting from the troubled ASEAN summit in Pattaya (“Flashpoint Pattaya”). These are interesting reports worthy of reading in full. This piece caught PPT’s eye:

“Red shirted pro-democracy [UDD] protestors  on Saturday returned in greater numbers to Pattaya, pushing their way to the summit venue for a second day by around 9.30am.

Earlier, enraged by attacks by blue-shirted pro-government thugs [PPT – it is not at all clear who these people are. There have been pictures of them in action with the police] the previous day, in which some red shirts were hit by stones, the red shirts had called up greater numbers and scores of taxis from Bangkok overnight.

In the early morning they began marching up the hill to the Royal Cliff Resort, venue of the summit, but came face to face with a few hundred of the pro-government militia, well organized with freshly printed dark blue T-shirts saying ‘Protect the Institution’ – institution being the a reference to the monarchy.

All the blue shirts were armed with sticks, clubs and iron rods.”

Other reports show the red shirts becoming armed also. The reference to “protecting the institution” is eerily reminiscent of right-wing groups claiming palace support who worked with the police and military during the bloody attack on Thammasat University on 6 October 1976.

Update: Bangkok Pundit has some reports from the Thai-language press showing the links between blue shirts and the Democrat Party-led government, together with a photograph of former Thaksin supporter Newin Chidchob dressed in blue directing forces in Pattaya.