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Pattaya Daily News

10 April 2010 :: 16:04:46 pm 17900

Inaction & Continued Red-Chaos Deepens Thailand’s Plight

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva assured the nation on Friday night that the perceived lawless protests being carried out by the anti-government, United Front For Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) protestors in Bangkok, will be met with staunch resistance over the coming days as tensions continue to increase.
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Bangkok, the 10th of April 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Broadcast on national television, Prime Minister Abhisit assured the public that the government will not be discouraged by the threats of an escalation in the Red Shirts call for the dissolution of parliament. It was also made clear that the government would not fail to enforce the ‘rule of law.’

The address to the nation, broadcast from the Emergency Operations Command Center, was made in response to Friday’s Red Shirt storming of the Thaicom Telepost and DTH Center, a satellite television uplink station in Bangkok. The Red Shirts seized control of the station early on Friday in an attempt force the government to reconnect the pro-red People’s Television Channel (PTV) which had been cut on Thursday. PTV was taken off air under instruction from the government due to the perceived inaccuracies of the media broadcasters pro-red sentiments.

The storming of the Thaicom compound was the site of the first violent conflict between the military, police and Red Shirt activists in which thousands of protesters stormed into the satellite broadcasting station after clashing with authorities who attempted to defend the site with the use of high powered water cannons and tear gas grenades. Of increasing concern for the government should be the sight of security personnel and police shaking hands with Red Shirt protesters following the minor clash, even being offered water and food by the anti-government activists outside the satellite compound. Approximately ten protesters and soldiers were injured in the incident.

Following the seizure of the Thaicom facility and agreement was reached between UDD leaders Natthawut Saikua, Jatuporn Prompan and the opposition Puea Thai MP Karun Hosakul in negotiations with Provincial Police Region 1 chief Lieutenant General Krisada Pankongchuen and Thaicom satellite ground station executives to re-air the pro-red PTV channel. However, immediately prior to the PM’s late night broadcast on the government run networks, PTV’s signal was once again cut. The government cited that they had disconnected the channel amid concerns that their alleged misleading and inaccurate news had the potential to incite violence and disruption through the use of fear tactics and bias broadcasting.

Red Shirt leaders continue to protest that the disconnection of their PTV channel is a violation of their basic rights to free speech and a violation of the national constitution, stating that the pro-government satellite television channels, which are funded by the tax-payers, have been left unpunished despite presenting an exceedingly biased view themselves.

Ignoring the PTV issue in his reply last night, the Prime Minister stated that he understood the public’s disappointment and annoyance at seeing the Red Shirts continued disregard for the law and promised that the responsible authorities would not be discouraged and will not fail again. He vowed to “continue the increased efforts to restore order and return normalcy to the country, which is the sole mission of the government at present.” Further stating; “I have shared the same feeling with those people who want to see correctness win, to see the ‘divine’ of our legal procedures,” also calling on the UDD leaders to give up their unlawful activities immediately.

Meanwhile, key UDD leader Natthawut Saikua promised earlier today that the Red Shirts would be able to watch PTV again within days because there would be retaliatory measures taken against the government, including various legal avenues. Whilst in a further blow to the government, fugitive ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra addressed the gathered protesters via video link from an unknown location on Friday night. In the link, he dispelled rumours that he was in ill-health whilst explaining that he had voluntarily stopped his daily broadcast amidst fears that the public may misunderstand his addresses thinking that the Red Shirts were fighting for him.

Finally, in yet another setback for the faltering tourism industry in Thailand, specifically in Bangkok, 43 embassies have urged their nationals to exercise high caution and to be alert in their movements around the Thai capital as well as the surrounding provinces. The embassies of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Latvia and Spain have increased their security warning to the highest alert level, recommending their citizens not to travel to Thailand. Nationals of Russia, Romania, the Philippines, Taiwan, Laos, Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, Poland and China who intended to visit the country are advised to reconsider their travel plans and to take high precautions. The British, Belgian, German, Irish, Canadian, Hungarian, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Australian, New Zealand, Israeli, Cambodian, Malaysian and Ukrainian embassies also warned their people to avoid high-risk areas. Nationals of France, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Finland, Brazil, the US, Slovakia, Japan, Macao, Bulgaria and Portugal were advised to be especially cautious and avoid zones considered unsafe, especially demonstration areas, and to pay close attention to public information sources.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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