Thailand in the News Week Ending 05/01/10

Civil War?

Photo Courtesy of AP/Sakchai Lalit.

International think tank The International Crisis Group is predicting that without international mediation Thailand faces civil war.

East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta has already visited and spoken with the Thai prime minister. The crisis group suggests that he could lead a mediation team.

In his weekly television address prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government had already decided how to deal with the crisis paralyzing Bangkok. He has declined to reveal what the plan is, but he says he needs to make sure it succeeds. After that, he says, he will reveal a timetable for the dissolution of parliament.

The government did managed to convince protesters to dismantle a key barricade to allow access to the hospital in the protest zone but in true Red shirt fashion they re-barricaded the area just one day later.

The fact remains that the sitting government has not done it’s job in making Bangkok safe and you have to look no further than the tourist numbers to see the effect these continued protests are having on the countries bottom line. Most countries have issued strong warnings to their citizens that all non essential travel to the Kingdom should be rescheduled for a later date when the political situation is more stable.

As for the think tanks thoughts…Think tanks like this generally make statements that can also be made with a flip of the coin. If they made this statement one year ago then they might be seen as credible but waiting until there is blood shed  in the streets of Bangkok does little to ensure their ranking of a brain trust.

There is still a strong propensity for this situation to turn around and hopefully cooler heads will prevail to work out this political nightmare that has been a blight on all of Thailand.

Red Shirts Get it Wrong Again

Thai Police officers outside hospital on Friday

Photo Courtesy AP

200 Red shirt protesters barged into Chulalongkorn Hospital late Thursday on the belief that security forces were sighted taking positions in the hospital. Of course the rumors were unfounded and the protesters found no security forces on the premises. The director of the hospital pleaded with the protesters to leave immediately but they would have none of it.

This action prompted the hospital to evacuate over 500 patients to other hospitals in the area. Protest leaders struggled to make amends for the hospital raid, apologizing, promising to leave the facility alone and removing some of the barricades blocking it as a gesture of contrition. But the Red Shirts later put the barricades back in place and missed a meeting with hospital administrators to discuss how to keep the patients and staff safe.

The Thai prime minister took to the nation’s airwaves denouncing the hospital invasion. “It’s not necessary for me to condemn (the hospital break-in) since Thai society and the world community have already done that,” Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjavjiva said in comments carried by several news agencies. The Thai government, he added, will “not allow any movements that pose threats to the public.”

UDD leader Dr.Weng Tojirakarn apologized profusely to anyone that would listen stating:

We truly apologize for any inconvenience caused. Some were very concerned the hospital was harboring troops.

Even if there were government troops in the hospital the Red shirt protesters and their leaders have no legal reason to investigate it. The UDD for all it’s efforts of a so called peaceful; protest keep giving themselves a well deserved black eye. The UDD does have reason to protest and their voices need to be heard but for the past month they have turned what was once a peaceful protest that was gaining respect by all Thai’s into a circus side show complete with the usual clowns such as Dr. Weng and his puppet master Thaksin Shinawatra.

The protest leaders have relented in the past week on their demands of holding new elections immediately and sent a message to the Prime Minister that they would leave Bangkok is elections were scheduled to be held in 30 days.

I really think at this point new elections are a moot point. Clearly no matter who is elected some number of the population will be disenfranchised and all they will have to do is take to the streets as the Yellow shirts have done before and the Red shirts are doing now to make sure that there will never be such a thing as democracy in Thailand.


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8 Responses to Thailand in the News Week Ending 05/01/10
  1. Catherine
    May 3, 2010 | 10:38 am

    The Chula hospital event was a disaster for the Reds. Not only did it show a lack of concern for the public, it made clear the wobbly leadership on the Red side too.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thailand’s Multi-Coloured Politics: Will Thais Talk to Thais? =-.

    • Talen
      May 3, 2010 | 10:43 am

      Cat, one can only wonder what their next blunder will be.

  2. Catherine
    May 3, 2010 | 10:56 am

    Agreed. There are too many loose canons on the Red side.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thailand’s Multi-Coloured Politics: Will Thais Talk to Thais? =-.

  3. Catherine
    May 3, 2010 | 10:59 am

    Correction: On both sides…
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thailand’s Multi-Coloured Politics: Will Thais Talk to Thais? =-.

  4. Mike
    May 3, 2010 | 11:42 am

    Talen if you go back to the time frame originally suggested by the PM in the face to face meetings, well the longer the protest lasts the nearer we get to that deadline.

    In fact they passed the budget this week(one stumbling block for PM and Government).

    Perhaps there is a Win/Win situation developing?
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Common Tailorbird-Birds of Thailand-Photo/Image =-.

    • Talen
      May 3, 2010 | 12:00 pm

      Mike, it would be nice to see this resolved with a win win situation. I think the Red leaders know their situation is deteriorating and will be looking for a face saving out.

      But as you said, if they hang on a little longer they might make the prime Ministers deadline yet.