Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy

Thai media reports Red Shirt supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office

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Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attends a meeting to discuss an Election Commission proposal to postpone the upcoming general election, at Royal Thai Air Force Headquarters in Bangkok Jan. 15, 2014

As Thailand’s anti-government protests enter their fourth day, observers say prospects for violent confrontation are increasing, with reports of government supporters stockpiling weapons in case of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster.

According to the Bangkok Post, radical members of the Red Shirts — diehard champions of Yingluck and her notorious brother Thaksin Shinawatra — are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention.

The paper quoted a Red Shirt source as saying “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.”

Tens of thousands of protesters have clogged key arteries of Bangkok, Thailand’s sprawling capital — a tourist mecca and a booming economic hub — since Monday in order to shutdown government and purge the influence of the Shinawatra clan, especially that of billionaire telecoms mogul and former Prime Minister Thaksin.

(MORE: Thai Opposition Digs In for a Long Protest)

Led by the burly Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Deputy Prime Minister for the opposition Democrat Party, who resigned to lead the protest, demonstrators have built tent cities around government buildings. The move has forced their closure, forcing civil servants to work from home and other offices. “We’re here to chase out a tyrant government,” Suthep told the BBC on Wednesday

Seeking a path through the ongoing unrest, Yingluck has dissolved parliament and called snap elections for Feb. 2. However, Suthep is demanding her unconditional resignation and threatened to detain her and fellow caretaker cabinet members if she does not quit immediately. However, not to hold elections would be unconstitutional Yingluck insists. “If people don’t want this government they should go out and vote,” she said.

Thaksin-backed parties have won the last five elections based upon huge support in Thailand’s rural northeast, where populist policies are credited for bringing millions out of poverty. However, Thaksin remains anathema to royalists and the traditional elite of Bangkok and the southern provinces, who accuse him of flagrant vote-buying. Thaksin was ousted in a military coup seven years ago and currently lives in exile in Dubai following a conviction for corruption.

“Isaan people [from the rural northeast] don’t pay taxes, Thaksin buys their vote and then steals our money with it,” Noi, a 48-year-old teacher from Chonburi province, told TIME outside the Tourism Ministry on Tuesday, echoing a common complaint of the protesters.

The opposition wants an unelected people’s council to replace the democratically chosen legislature for a period of up to two years, in order to usher through a series of reforms designed to permanently nullify Thaksin’s power.

According to Thitinan Pongsudhirak, professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thais grudgingly accept a certain level of graft, but the protesters believe Thaksin went beyond mere nest-feathering to the pursuit of “a monopoly on power and wealth.”

(MORE: Mood Growing Tense as Bangkok Shutdown Enters Second Day)

Conversely, Red Shirts argue Thakin is just another player in Thai politics with vested interests, “and this persecution of Thaksin, in their eyes, is unjust and typifies the grievances that they feel — that Thaksin gave them a voice and policies that paid attention to their interests,” says Thitinan.

On Thursday, protest numbers had dwindled from the tens of thousands clearly visible earlier in the week, leaving ever more visible a hardcore of opposition cadres — grizzled figures clad in black shirts and military fatigues, largely brought in from Suthep’s stronghold in the south.

The Thai Department of Special Investigation has issued a summons for 55 protest leaders for offenses relating to the shutdown. Suthep is himself facing rebellion charges for his role, on top of murder charges for ordering the 2010 crackdown on a Red Shirt demonstration in central Bangkok that killed around 90 and left 2,000 injured.

Despite the outstanding warrants, protest leaders openly stroll around the city in full view of the public, and the 20,000 police and troops deployed to maintain order have been largely hidden.

“We’re trying not to get close to the mob,” one police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP. “They may get angry if they see us and that could spark clashes.”

While the military is generally seen as pro-establishment, and by extension sympathetic to the protesters, the Royal Thai Police is seen as a pro-Thaksin institution. (Thaksin was a mid-ranking officer himself many years ago.)

Despite this absence of security personnel, the vast majority of rallies have been peaceful, although late at night shots have been fired at some protest sites and some small explosive devices have been detonated. Nevertheless, “it is still early days and as the days wear on I think we will see more frustration,” warns Thitinan.

MORE: Thailand’s Democrat Party Is Hilariously Misnamed

20 comments
SarodPaichayonrittha
SarodPaichayonrittha

Thailand and US  are several thousand miles aparted.

Different people, Different ways of life. Different languages.
Different beliefs. Different religons.
Different styles of democracy.  

What actually happens in Thailand may be or may not be
the same as what you here have been told.

Please do not conclude by just from only your few sources.

Be careful.
Be heartful. 

Be skeptical.

Do not judge based upon your belief.
Do not judge based upon your logic.
Do not judge based upon your philosophy.
Do not judge based upon your common sense.
Do not judge based upon your reliable sources.

And Finally, do not judge based upon your democracy.

Come-See-Touch-Join what is really happening in Thailnd.

Learn thai. Know thai.
Read a lot of thai social medias especial in thai language not in english.

After all lies are completely screened.
The only single TRUTH shall appear.

Bangkok, Thailand

musashi
musashi

The military is not just generally seen as pro-establishment, they are part of the network monarchy that aggressively maintains the royal family's grip on power and wealth. 

How else can 75% of the population live below the poverty line while the king himself is the richest king in the world and the wealthiest by a far margin in Thailand? And why else did the filthy rich king come out with his Sufficiency Theory to keep the poor contented with their poverty while he himself enriches his own pockets.

The royal family is actively involved in politics and coups (and deaths of innocent civilians). With more than 20 coups (not counting judicial coups), and 18 charter/constitution re-writes, they have been trampling on human-rights and the rights of the people to live in a democracy.


1. Wikileaks' Classified cable from US Ambassador Eric G. John (http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/11/08BANGKOK3317.html)


REFER TO ¶7: POLITICIZATION OF THE MONARCHY

"We also met on November 5 with Chutinant Bhirombhakdee (strictly protect), the well-connected scion of a wealthy family with close palace ties.  Chutinant had a leading role in the Constitution Drafting Assembly established by the leaders of the 2006 coup; his wife, Piyapas, has the royal title of "Mom Luang" and works closely with the Queen."

2.http://www.asiasentinel.com/politics/wikileaks-depicts-a-weak-thai-king/

An advisor to Queen Sirikit told US Ambassador Eric John, according to a Nov. 4, 2008 State Department cable made available on the WikiLeaks Web site.

"The monarchy was directly involved in Thai politics and continues to do so. As much as the king has intervened in politics himself, some of his close aides often claim to act on his behalf even when the King knows nothing about it.

"But you must look at the monarchy as a network that also comprises the Privy Council, the military, and not just an individual."


3. Reuters

Thailand's Queen Sirikit and Princess Chulabhorn attended the cremation ceremony of anti-government protestor Angkana Radappanyawuthi. 

"Her Majesty said my daughter was a good woman since she had helped the nation and preserved the monarchy," Jinda told reporters.

(http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/13/us-thailand-protest-idUSTRE49C56K20081013)

4. Australia Broadcasting Corporation

"Thailand's Queen Sirikit has attended the funeral of a protester killed in clashes with police last week, giving explicit royal backing to a five-month street campaign to oust the elected government."

(http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-10-14/thai-queen-attends-protesters-funeral/540772)


REFER TO ¶10. ATTEMPTS TO KILL THAKSIN

"..certain enemies of Thaksin (NFI) had sought to kill him.  Chutinant said he had been surprised to learn that the contract on Thaksin's life entailed a relatively low payment of only several hundred thousand Baht (in the range of 10,000 USD), although it also entailed resettlement abroad for the person(s) directly involved."





Kongsuk Bernadette Wanwarangk
Kongsuk Bernadette Wanwarangk

อึไม่ออกให้ไปล้วงอึให้ ช้างเช่นกัน แค่ช้างอีสาน เอาอะไร มองเป็น คนทำงานบ้าน ไม่ด่าให้ก็บุณเท่าไหร่แหละ คนใช้ที่บ้านมีเยอะแยะ ระบบโรงเรียนล้อมไว้ โรงเรียนแม่ยกไม่พูดส่วนมากเงียบๆ บอกพวกเค้าไปซะ ให้รู้เอง สอนยังไง กระดาษบ้านกูเต็มบ้าน ขอใคร ไม่เล่นกระดาษสา อินโดเค้าเล่น เอาอะไรกับสำริด ฮิวแมนบีอิ้งทั้งนั้น อย่าหลอก

TopSivachan R. Siva
TopSivachan R. Siva

Beautiful protesters ever, anti - corruption government, please have a look.

Pisit Aumboon
Pisit Aumboon

She did not understand the purpose of democracy, because she was just a poppet of her brother only.

Bo Mo Lo
Bo Mo Lo

When insanity prevails...

Paloma Savaengcharoen
Paloma Savaengcharoen

There are eight section where the yellow mob are located. Just heard on the Thai news that one place I wanted to go to join, closed and moved to another location. I heard also that after a one week of Bangkok shut down things WILL start to heat up. I am planning to go to another mob section tomorrow not today before problems lead to worse. There will be more streets closing down besides the seven streets that have been already closed, so I've heard. They are doing this to put more pressure on the government! Will keep you posted on what is next to unfold as the days go by. We need urgent prayers, please. Peace out :(

Kin Bleasdale
Kin Bleasdale

Botox PM ..."LEARN TO RESPECT THE CHAKRI DYNASTY IT WILL STILL STAND BEFORE YOU FALL!"

Todd Sup
Todd Sup

Violence is the only excuse to do a coup. Simple as that, not even a rocket science.

Jaber Mahmud
Jaber Mahmud

The thugs are all the in the guise of democracy..........yinglak sinawarta is none but like that

oktrade
oktrade

Thai protesters are Delusional Zombies:  Distraction, Diversion and Division.

I firmly believe that Thaksin Shinawatra still rules Thailand by remote control from Dubai. Suthep Thaugsuban accepted Thaksin Shinawatra’s Bitch-Sister Yingluck Shinawatra shag Thailand for 4 years. Suthep Thaugsuban is inviting a Coup d'état to marshal Thai military to crackdown grassroots and takeover the whole country. More blood more Baht. Suthep Thaugsuban blessed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra move to pardon her fugitive brother Thaksin Shinawatra and bring home untried. Suthep Thaugsuban knows this bill will get his zombies hit the street to hinder the Thai ailing economy nose dive. It’s a stooopid boring Thai game to Redherring the grassroots movement away from corrupt corps looting the country as we speak. 


musashi
musashi

@Mikel Posey 

Do you have something useful to say, or are you just an attention wh0re?

jumpbotos
jumpbotos

anti-democracy, pro-feudalism