PAD, multi-color, pink and no color are all the same

1 06 2010

Readers might remember that not long before the bloody crackdown on the red shirts, the government suddenly had supporters rallying claiming first to be pink shirts and then no color and finally multi-color. The line pushed by the mainstream media was the fairytale that these groups were independent and peace-loving. The obvious relationship of these groups to the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy was covered up or barely mentioned.

That dissembling continues as the royalists – and that is what they are – seek a crushing victory over the hated red shirts and all associated with them. Hence the Bangkok Post (31 May 2010) reports on a PAD lawyer filing a petition with the Election Commission “seeking the dissolution of the opposition Puea Thai Party and the banning of its leader and executive committee members from politics.”

Alleged “human rights” lawyer Nitithorn Lamlua, says that since April this year Puea Thai leader and executives “had collaborated with convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and core members of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to violate the Political Party Act of 2007 … [and] had told the red-shirts at various UDD rallies to break the law, including setting fire to government offices.”

At the same time, the “anti-UDD multi-colour group” – a branch of the royalist PAD –  “submitted a petition to Senate Speaker Prasobsuk Boondej seeking the removal from office of three Puea Thai MPs for allegedly violating the constitution.” That group of so-called multi-colors was led by PAD member Tul Sitthisomwong. “Their petition was signed by 22,100 people, and copies of their IDs were attached. The petition alleges the three MPs violated Articles 164, 270 and 274 of the charter by attending and speaking on the stage at the red-shirt rally at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong commercial district.”

Remarkably, they blame the MPs for all loss of life and damage caused by the military’s crack down on the red shirts. As was the case in 1976-78, when the looney royalists are in the ascendant, politics becomes increasingly right-wing and partisan.





With 3 updates: Talk of talks

17 05 2010

Reports are in the Bangkok media of possible talks. The Bangkok Post says this:

A telephone call from Korbsak Sabhavasu, the prime minister’s secretary-general, to Natthawut Saikua prompted the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leaders to hold an urgent meeting, according to television reports.

The meeting began shortly after 3pm, the deadline given by the government for protesters to leave Ratchaprasong.

Most of the protesters remained at the rally site despite the deadline although they looked tense on seeing a government leaflet dropped from helicopters warning them to immediately leave the area.

On receiving the call from Mr Korbsak, UDD leaders went inside a portable container for a meeting.

Meanwhile, acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation would hold a meeting at 5pm to discuss steps to be taken to retake the occupied area after the 3pm deadline.

He declined to go in to detail, saying only that priority would be given to evacuating children and the elderly from the rally site. Mr Panitan said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was still in high spirits and determined to overcome all problems.

It is indeed pleasing to know that Abhisit is happy and well as the death and injury toll increases.

The Post also says that Thaksin Shinawatra has called for more talks:

Ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra called on the government and his red-shirt supporters Monday to step back from a “terrible abyss” and start talks to end civil violence.

“I stand with my countrymen in this terrible hour in our history,” Thaksin said in a statement.

“The pictures that I have seen go beyond any nightmares that could have been envisaged. I have no choice but to state resolutely the need for all sides to step back from this terrible abyss and seek to begin a new, genuine and sincere dialogue between the parties,” he said.

“The present action of the government dishonour our history and will forever weaken our institutions and democracy.”

… Abhisit’s government has accused Thaksin of inciting unrest in the capital from overseas.

The Reds called Sunday for UN-mediated talks to end street clashes in the heart of the Bangkok that have left at least 35 people dead since Friday, but the government rejected the idea, saying it was an internal matter.

Thaksin called for the United Nations “to immediately engage to act as facilitator for this negotiation.”

He added: “That organisation should not allow itself to be silenced by a prime minister who failed to understand that a right to life is a core universal value that unites us all as one.”

Update 1: The BBC is reporting that a response from red shirts calling for more talks has been met by the statement that they must call off the rally first.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that the red shirt leadership is prepared to accept “Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondej’s offer to mediate truce talks with the government…”.

With more than 37 are dead, the report is that “Natthawut Saikua …  said that the UDD accepted the offer and wanted to urgently end the ongoing violence, and had called on the government to stop shooting at the protesters. The UDD was unconditionally ready to negotiate.  However, senators who would mediate the talks must not include members of the group of 40 pro-government senators, he said. Mr Nathawut said the UDD had left it to Mr Prasopsuk to coordinate with the government for talks.”

Update 3: Same response from the government, at least according to the BBC: no negotiations until the rally ends….





Updated: More on parliament surrounded

26 03 2010

Update: After some limited media criticism, a fierce response from Peua Thai Party MPs, including a 2-day boycott of parliament, the government begun to reduce the huge military presence at parliament. Television news showed the troops withdrawing and razor wire and barricades being removed.

Part of the criticism today came in an extremely emotional statement in parliament by the one Peua Thai MP who showed up, spoke, and then left.As we mentioned below, the senate speaker also made a plea.

The government, which had earlier seen that images of the prime minister surrounded by military personnel was poor public relations, appears to have woken up to that fact that making parliament look like a military base in a war zone is probably not the best message. That said, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems not to care all that much, and in parliament was grim-faced in making statements defending his government and the military.

*

While much of the media has jumped to Abhisit Vejjajiva’s support, seemingly seeing nothing wrong with the huge “security” measures taken to “protect” parliament, Senate speaker Prasopsuk Boondej is reported in the Bangkok Post as saying that the government should review its security measures as the deployment of troops at the parliament affects the image of the country…”.

He says: “The deployment of soldiers and the setting up of cement barricades and barbed wire inside and around the parliament building compound without giving advance notice has inconvenienced senators trying to get to work…” (PPT added the emphasis). He argues that it was unnecessary “to station a large number of soldiers at the parliament.

He added: “In addition, there will be a meeting of senators on Monday and foreign delegates to the 122nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting will visit the parliament the same day. If they see a large number of soldiers, it could erode the country’s image”.

With Peau Thai Party members still boycotting and now heavily involved at the red shirt rally, the government sat in parliament virtually alone. PPT watched some of the session and it was handed over to a series of attacks on the red shirts and support for the “security” measures. Apart from allowing the Democrat Party to let off a bit of steam, it was a bit like watching one hand clapping.