Updated: Abhisit, restraint and irony

30 01 2011

CNN has a report, with video, on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at Davos that has left PPT gobsmacked. The report begins: “has called on leaders troubled by civil unrest to exercise restraint, less than a year after a bloody military crackdown on the streets of Bangkok.” He was speaking of Mubarak in Egypt.

Yes, we are sure he is serious! And no irony at all!

The irony of this statement is revealed in the second paragraph of the report: “Abhisit Vejjajiva sent in government troops to quell long-running Red Shirt protests in the Thai capital last May. Ninety-one people died and hundreds were injured in the street battles that followed.”

Restraint? Seriously? It seems so: “When the protesters were peaceful [when they] were exercising their constitutional rights, there was absolutely no need for any kind of force to be used. Unfortunately in the protests in April and May there was violence — grenades launched, invading hospitals and so on — and we had to make sure that order had to be preserved.”

Look at the body counts and the role of army snipers and see if restraint was used and where the force of violence was located. And, look at the events of early April and note that it was the state’s forces that moved against protesters who, in Abhisit’s terms, terms were exercising their constitutional rights.

Abhisit adds his now infamous call to the rule of law: “For us what was important, we needed to enforce the law [and] at the same time, we had to exercise the utmost restraint, and try to address whatever legitimate grievances these people on the streets had.”

See our recent post on “legitimate grievances” being met. On the rule of law, PPT has pointed out that Abhisit means something other than the usual definition that “no person is immune to law.” We know this because the law is used selectively in Thailand and the state operates with impunity in a range of field including the murder of political opponents.

Update: For something that is a little more real world, see Martin Petty’s Reuters report that briefly compares and contrasts Thailand’s “slow-burn civil war” and the rebellion in Tunisia.

Further updated: The Thai Report on red shirt rally

23 01 2011

As ever, The Thai Report has a great set of links on the most recent red shirt Sunday rally. These two pictures caught our attention, although we are not sure of the significance of the bread. Any ideas? (Update: A reader tipped us off, and we found this.

Update: BBC reports that: “Police say around 27,000 people marched peacefully from the site of last year’s protests [Rajaprasong] to Democracy Monument.” Reuters report here and AFP here. As usual, official estimates will tend to be on the low side.

Jaran on Tunisia

19 01 2011

Congratulatory Message on the Tunisian Revolution

I am Jaran Ditapichai, a former member of the National Human Rights Commissioner of Thailand, and a fighter for Freedom and Democracy, I would like to send this congratulatory solidarity message on the victory of the Tunisian people who stood up against the dictator President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and drove him off from power on Friday, January 14, 2011 after 23 years in power.

This great victory is not an uprising but a revolution. Moreover, this is the first time in modern Arab history that an Arab government has been overthrown by very public protests. The victory of Tunisian people encourages fighters for Democracy, and it also frightens dictators and monarchies around the world.

The Tunisian revolution showed that the mass of people is the decisive factor of the victory. Youths are the vanguard of fighting for Freedom and Democracy. The social media especially the Internets such as Face book played major role in circulation of mass information and mobilization. In addition, after the fall of each tyranny, the people’s struggle for freedom and democratic revolution enter high tide period all over the country.

Tunisia will be democratic where people will enjoy full rights and liberty. However, the dominate class is not completely defeated; they’ll be working on stealing the victory and attempting to maintain their socio-political power. The people must continue to protect freedom and finish the political revolution.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship(UDD) which is known as the Red shirts have been fighting for Thailand Democracy and Justice for 4 years. We will learn from Tunisian People and will support their cause. We wish the revolution in Tunisia well.

Long live the people of Tunisia!

Down with the Tyranny!


18 01 2011

Several readers emailed PPT regarding the events in Tunisia, making comments about comparisons that might be made. PPT has no expertise on Tunisia and has been reading media accounts with interest. The only comparison we have seen so far is this story at Citywire, a U.K.-based finance site.


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