Pattaya Daily News

15 March 2010 :: 14:03:14 pm 15719

Historic Bangkok Rallies Fail to Unseat Thai Government

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is, as ever, adapting a balanced approach to what many see as the ‘Red Menace’. Rather than capitulate to the Red Shirt’s ultimatum that he dissolve the House by noon today, he asks them to consider the other members of society not merely themselves, the grass-roots protesters, saying, however, he is prepared to listen to the Red Shirt’s opinions. “Our objective is not to cling on to our positions. Our objective is to see the country move forward within the principle of righteousness not just for the short term but for the longer term,” the prime minister was reported as saying by the Bangkok Post.
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Bangkok 15 March, 2010, [Pattaya Daily News]: As the moving tide of Red Shirts makes its relentless passage across the capital the vanguard, led by Veera Musigapong has reached the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen, fully blocking traffic, waiting for the sinuous majority to catch up. Despite the premier’s staunch stand on not capitulating, saying “the coalition parties agree that the demand cannot be met,” Jatuporn Prompan, one of the key UDD leaders, may well fulfill his promise, made yesterday, to encourage his protesters to spread over a 20-kilometre radius of their current main site on Rajdamnoen Avenue, effectively paralyzing that part of the capital.

In a TV broadcast, the PM firmly denounced the disinformation spread by Red Shirt leaders that force is about to be used against the Red Shirts. The rebel rousing Red Shirt leaders were accused of creating fake audio compilations giving the impression that a violent clampdown was on the cards, so as to incite their followers to violence. The premier reiterated his position that the government had no plans to use force against the protesters and the invocation of the Internal Security Act was a security measure rather than one of repression.

On the other hand, the use of violence cannot be ruled out by the Red Shirts, themselves. Only yesterday, the police seized 10,000 M79-type grenade launcher components at a suburban Bangkok factory, as well as seizing some 100 ad hoc devices that could be used as substitute M79 grenade launchers in Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya Province. Major serious violence may have been averted by the prompt police action, but no doubt the ‘Red Menace’ may well have other recourses of violence.

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Red Shirt Rally Historic And Of The Utmost Significance

The mass mobilization of Thailand’s underprivileged over the weekend of March 12-14, which is still progressing, is being hailed as an unprecedented, historic phenomenon. The rural poor have at last found their political voices and the Bangkok elite has no option but to listen.

In what resembles a victory parade of the mass Red Shirt entrance into the capital, certain citizens of Bangkok and environs are lining the streets, along the 65-kilometre stretch from Ayutthaya’s Wang Noi district, cheering them on.

That it was celebratory, reminiscent of a party atmosphere, rather than inherently violent, is evident from the fact that the mixed, rag-tag convoy, every vehicle flying the red flags of the UDD, came in to the accompaniment of music.

This event is apparently the first time since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932 that so many of the rural constituents from the northern and 19 north-eastern provinces have been mobilized to such a degree, with almost 80 percent of the latter being farmers. IPS reported Thanet Aphornsuvan, a historian from Thammasat University, as asserting that “This is the biggest rally by rural people who have come to Bangkok making demands on national political issues. It shows the capacity of rural political mobilisation of a new kind.” What is also of considerable significance is that a large proportion of the protestors are female, for the first time making a double assertion of their rights – as political conscious individuals and as women, traditionally second-class citizens in Thailand.

It is also significant that, in a country normally dominated by the accents and dialect of Bangkok, an army announcer spoke pacifyingly in the Esarn dialect to the protestors gathered outside the 11th Infantry Regiment, saying “Let’s hear the voice of Red-Shirt people. Let’s hear the sound of clapping feet.”

So it appears that, at long last, the rural poor have gained a distinct political identity and that they are no longer willing to kowtow to the powers-that-be in Bangkok. The more articulate and vociferous among them denouncing the political aristocracy that they consider holds power contrary to the democratic process.

Although those opposed to the Red Shirt movement are inclined to dismiss it as a personality cult-following of Thaksin Shinawatra, or highlight the financial inducement of between Bt1-2,000 per protestor (which the UDD claim, quite reasonably, is being disbursed as traveling expenses), one must recognize the deeper significance of the movement. Surely it is a response to the Zeitgeist – the Spirit of Times – that is, in fact, sweeping the planet, when the power oligarchies must acknowledge the equal rights of all sections of society to a say in the distribution of power.

Related News:

Pattaya Red Shirt Procession Prepares For Bangkok Protest

Pattaya’s contribution to the Red Shirt rallies happening in Bangkok gathered in an assembly last night. The congregation staged a meeting at the Red Shirt Democracy Courtyard on Phettrakoon Road, North Pattaya before leaving for the nation’s capital.

Thailand’s UDD Demand Government Dissolution Monday

Anti-government protesters now gathering on Bangkok’s Ratchadamnoen Avenue are demanding that the coalition government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve the House by Monday and that they will seize the capital if refused.

Red Shirts Contingent Tour Pattaya En Route To Bangkok

Over 300 Red Shirts went to pay homage to the shrine of King Taksin before touring Pattaya, looking for recruits and then moving off to join the demonstrations in Bangkok, this weekend.

Thailand’s UDD Red Dawn Brings Both Concern And Optimism

The world is not optimistic about the upcoming effect of the anti-government Red- Shirt protests from March 12-14, with many sources predicting violence as the protestors attempt to overthrow the government. Already, up to 27 countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens, advising them not to travel to Thailand.

Related Feature:

Does Arms’ Theft Indicate Incipient Violence for Bangkok?

The theft of a large cache of arms from the Army arsenal in Phatthalung coming so soon after the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions February 26’s decision to seize Bt46.37 billion of Thaksin Shinawatra’s frozen assets does not bode well for the stability of Thailand.

Taliesin Verity
Chief-Reporter
news@pattayadailynews.com

Photo : Jack Rames   Category : Thailand News

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