Freitag, 13. Dezember 2013

Bangkok Protest - on the edge of civil war? - update 11.12.2013

Protesters in front of the Government House.

Zur deutschsprachigen Version

Related links:
protest in Bangkok - a summary

05.-08. December 2013

Since my last post of December 4th  a lot has happened in Thailand. For a few days the situation has calmed down in Bangkok. Self-proclaimed protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her caretaker government another ultimatum. He demanded of her to step down immediately. Furthermore he ordered her to transfer all powers to the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by general secretary Suthep Thaugsuban.

Yingluck Shinawatra
Again Yingluck ignored Suthep's ultimatum. That's why the PDRC called on its supporters to stage another mass protest. On the so-called d-day (d for democracy) Monday 9th December 2013, the anti-government protesters should march to the Government House, gather there and force out the government by the sheer number of protesters.

Interestingly this group of self-appointed saviours continues to talk about democracy on and on and on. However, the last thing they are interested in is democracy. The PDRC represents just a minority of the Thai people and their goal is to abandon democracy and the principle of "one man, one vote" indefinitely.

Suthep Thaugsuban
...Mr Suthep said people from all walks of life will then choose representatives from various professions to form the people's council to work out policies and draw up legislation. 
The council, he added, will act as the legislative assembly to amend laws and regulations and also push national reform to change Thailand for the better.
He said the council will select "decent people" with no affiliations to political parties to be an interim prime minister and form an interim government under Section 7 of the charter.
The interim government will then put the council's national reform policy into practice such as by implementing plans to revamp the structure of the police force so they come under the people's supervision and decentralising power to provincial governors, Mr Suthep said. When the national reform plans are carried out successfully, a general election will be called and the people's council will end its role, Mr Suthep declared...

While we visited the protest camp at the monument of democracy on December 5th (during the birthday celebrations for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej) we talked to a group of elderly women. They told us that democracy could be a goal for the far future and that Thailand is not ready for real democracy nowadays. They support the PDRC's idea of appointing an interim-government, consisting of appointed”decent” people. They told us that they would already know who those "decent" people would be (my guess: general secretary Suthep and the members of the PDRC?). Most important for this group of older ladies: the appointed members shouldn't be corrupt on any account.

Corruption is of course one of the biggest problems in Thailand. During one year Thailand (from 2012 to 2013) dropped from No. 88 to No. 102 (out of 177 countries). This is the biggest drop in Thailand's history. With only 35 out of 100 possible points it has even fallen behind countries like India and the Philppines.

But should one set a thief to catch a thief? Here are some examples about Suthep's history on corruption and his alleged decency:  

1.) The Soe Por Kor 4-01 land reform 1995: As part of the Sor Por Kor 4-01 (สปก.4-01) land reform scheme, Suthep gave title deeds to 592 plots of land in  to 489 farmers. It was later found that members of 11 wealthy families in Phuket were among the recipients.

2.) In 2009 Suthep was accused of violating the Constitution of Thailand by holding equity in a media firm that had received concessions from the government and resigned to avoid being disqualified but continued as Deputy PM.

3.) In February 2013 former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban was accused of corruption in the police station building contract saga after the Department of Special Investigation launched a probe of alleged corruption in the unfinished projects.

4.) In October 2013 Democrat core member Suthep was indicted on murder  and attempted murder charges for their roles in ordering the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situations (CRES) to quell anti-government protests in 2010. 


Abhisit Vejjajiva
Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced on Sunday, that all remaining 153 Members of Parliament of the Democrat Party will resign their seats immediately. The parliament and the government are not legitimate anymore. This has been seen as another attempt by the Democrat Party to force the government to step down.

09. December 2013

On Monday morning Prime Minister Yingluck dissolved the parliament and declared she would lead the caretaker government until the next elections (possibly on 2nd February 2014). In the evening His Majesty the King endorsed the dissolution of the parliament by royal decree. Therefor (by constitution) Yingluck Shinawatra is the rightful interim Prime Minister.

Despite Yingluck`s announcement to dissolve parliament and call for snap elections, some hundreds of thousands protesters joined the anti-government rally. Many of the protesters oppose snap elections because they already know the outcome: Yingluck and the Pheu Thai will win again and govern another turn.

Urupong intersection

"Wistle blowing" at Phitsanulok road.

On the top of the concrete blocks (positined behind the gate of the access road to the Government House).

Thaksin, Thaksin, Thaksin

There have been even bigger one's.

In the evening, Suthep urged his supporters that this is only a partial victory and that the protests have to go on until the “Thaksin regime” has been eradicated.
He gave Yingluck another 24 hours ultimatum to step down (as interim Prime Minister) and to "return" the power to the people (in other words: to the PDRC), otherwise she would have to suffer the consequences.

The Redshirts on the other hand cancelled their pro-government mass rally in Ayutthaya (on Tuesday, December 10th). Because of the house dissolution and the already announced snap elections they saw no reason to stage this rally anyway.

Tuesday , 10th December 2013

Interim Prime Minister Yingluck refused to make any further concessions and asked the protesters to put up with the results of their protest. She said, she will stay in power and lead the caretaker government until the snap elections on February 2nd. There will be no more concessions from the her government´s side.

Meanwhile it seems that Suthep and his PDRC are going nuts and are completely getting above themselves. They declared, referring to article 7 of the constitution (to bridge a power vacuum with a royally endorsed interim government) that the caretaker government of Yingluck Shinawatra has been removed and declared themselves as the only and legitimate government. However, it is actually the Yingluck government which is still in charge, due to royal endorsement, and the PDRC' s claim to power is neither valid nor legitimate. 
They threatened the state officials, the police and the military that they have three days to decide either to support the PDRC and to obey its orders or to face the consequences. 
Suthep even supported the idea of  forming vigilante groups to establish (his) order when the police can't be trusted. Just imagine how Suthep's vigilante troops are going to establish order in redshirt dominated Isaan villages and cities!!!

Announcement of the PDRC on 10th December (Translation by David Streckfuss)
(Quick translation:) "The secretary-general of the PDRC Suthep Thaugsuban came onto the stage and read out four orders after the 24-hour deadline: for the prime minister to resign as caretaker, for criminal prosecution of rebellion against the prime minister to be carried out, for the police forces to be ordered back to their normal posts within 12 hours, and for the people to track the movements of those in the clan [presumably Shinawatra clan] with peaceful non-violence."
video recording of the speech at:
เลขาธิการกปปส. สุเทพ เทือกสุบรรณ ขึ้นเวทีอ่านคำสั่ง 4 ข้อหลังครบเส้นตาย 24 ชั่วโมง ให้นายกรัฐมนตรีลาออกจากรักษาการณ์ ให้ดำเนินคดีอาญาข้อหากบฏกับนายกฯ สั่งตำรวจถอนกำลังกลับที่ตั้งปกติภายใน 12 ชั่วโมง และให้ประชาชนติดตามความเคลื่อนไหวคนในตระกูลอย่างสันติ อหิงสา

After the ultimatum passed, the self-appointed government (by the grace of Suthep) gave the police forces the order to arrest interim Prime Minister Yingluck for insurrection, because she refused to follow the orders given by the PDRC.

Chalerm Yubamrung

On the same evening labour minister Chalerm Yubamrung demanded from Bangkok's police chief Kamronwit Thoopkrachang to arrest protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban within the next 48 hours.

The upcoming days and weeks will be very interesting (in a negative sense). I fear for the worst because of the irreconcilable hate on both sides. I think, there is a real risk that Thailand is moving in direction of a civil war.

Some more images of Monday's protest rally:

Not every protester wants to be recognised.


Phitsanulok road

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