Bangkok Shutdown - a letdown beyond compare
In the night from Sunday to Monday, January 13, 2014 , Suthep and his PDRC (People's Democratic Reform Committee ) started their " Bangkok Shutdown" campaign. The goal was actually to block major traffic arteries in Bangkok, to bring life to a standstill and to create chaos (see also: http://yanawa.blogspot.com/2014/01/bangkok-unrest-201314-spark -of- hopeein.html).
The pressure thus generated should force the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign and create a power vacuum, which should then be filled by the non-democratically elected reform committee and later by the so-called "People's Council". This would have also prevented the elections scheduled for February 2nd.
But all the action proved to be one huge letdown for the government opponents. While each of the seven main stages of the PDRC were visited by several thousand demonstrators on the first two or three days, the number of protesters dropped rapidly over the following days and weeks. At daytime sometimes less than 20 protesters gathered in front of certain protest stages like that one at Asok intersection..
|Stage at Lad Phrao intersection, 13.01.2014|
|In front of Asok stage, 13.01.2014|
|Lumpini stage, 14.01.2014|
Even the feared chaos failed to materialize (aside from the permanent traffic jams because of blocked intersections). There is also no supply emergenc in the capital. Many Bangkokians had surprisingly quickly arranged themselves with the situation and lead their lives on as usual. In the meantime, a desperate PDRC tried to keep the protesters in a good mood with entertainment programs, for example with singing protest leaders and Aerobics for beginners.
Aerobic for beginners
Singing Speaker at Asok
Thailand's largest opposition party, the Democrat Party ( DP), had, after a moment's hesitation and internal discussions, joined the anti-government protests of Suthep's PDRC (already joined by other former members of the Democrat Party). On 08 December 2013, the DP members of parliament announced that they would resign their seats. Because Thailand's legislature wouldn't have a quorum anymore Prime MinisterYingluck announced on 09 December that she would dissolve parliament and to call for snap elections which were eventually scheduled for 2nd February 2014. Since then she would take up the position as a caretaker prime minister as stated by royal decree. The Democrat Party decided on December 21st 2013 to boycott the upcoming elections.(http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304866904579271862159417896).
And this decision was probably one of the biggest mistakes in the nearly 68-year history of the Democrat Party (founded in 1946 by conservative royalists) .
In April 2006, the Democrats had already boycotted the elections after they at first had supported the demand of the PAD to set up an interim government appointed by the king in March 2006. But King Bhumibol refused to establish an unelected government in the following terms (26 April 2006): "Asking for a Royally-appointed prime minister is undemocratic. It is, pardon me, a mess. It is irrational".
Now the Democrats might face their dissolution. Because in Thailand it is a general rule that if a political party, for any reason whatsoever, does not participate twice in an election within a period of eight years, it must be resolved in accordance with the law .
Obviously it must be assumed that in December 2013 the Democrat Party was convinced that the government of Prime Minister Yingluck would collapse soon and would be quickly replaced by the reform committee or the so-called "People's Council". Therefor the elections would have been postponed indefinitely .
Whether out of ignorance, arrogance or plain and simple stupidity: this wrong decision means with some certainty the end of the Democrat Party - if not the courts, as so often in recent weeks, ignore the applicable law in this country and bow the laws in favor of the Government opponents. Regarding the violations of Thailand's Constitution and applicable law by the Constitutional Court , I would like to recommend the following link: http://www.prachatai3.info/english/node/3827
This error of judgment of the Constitutional Court also serves the NACC (National Anti- Corruption Commission of Thailand) as the opening pitch to proceed against the ruling Pheu Thai. On this subject, I recommend the following link:
It is obvious, that some institutions are already preparing a judicial coup in case that Suthep and his followers should fail with their protests to topple the goverment.
Violence and early voting
Unfortunately, violent attacks increased sharply (especially in Bangkok) in recent weeks. Since December more than 20 attacks were carried out with bombs and hand grenades. At least 10 people died in shootings and explosions and about 500 were injured. Among the victims were police officers as well as government opponents and supporters of the elections.
|26.01.2014 at Yannawa disrict office - respect my vote!|
|26.01.2014 at Yannawa disrict office - angry voters demand from the officials to do their duty.|
|26.01.2014 at Yannawa disrict office -voters searching for their names on the electoral lists.|
|26.01.2014 at Yannawa disrict office - courageous officers starting to register the voters.|
|26.01.2014 at Yannawa disrict office - angry voters insisting on their right to vote and show their identity cards.|
|26.01.2014 at Yannawa disrict office.|