Abhisit Puts Tanks on Bangkok Streets

Events are happening so quickly that it is difficult to keep up – and it is likely that many things will be forgotten or swept under the carpet in the clamour for urgency.

The situation now is that the ASEAN Summit was cancelled after the government was proved unable to keep order and the various Asian leaders had to be rapidly evacuated by helicopter. Pro-democracy red-shirted demonstrators were moving their protests from Bangkok to Pattaya when it seems there were attacked and shot at by a group of PAD goons and undercover security forces apparently organized by turncoat ‘godfather’ politician Newin Chidchob – it is possible that red shirts also used violence (poor Bangkok Pundit, to whom I generally turn for up to date information, sounded in despair yesterday when he was describing both sides as being no better than each other), although I remember previous clashes during which pro- and anti-democracy factions clashed and the telling phrase from the red shirts was ‘we brought sticks to a gun fight.’ The same seems to have happened here – I do not of course condone violence from anyone.

There are now reports of tanks on the streets and incidents across Bangkok and beyond. PM Abhisit has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and some surrounding provinces which means, inter alia, “Under the order, gatherings of more than five people are prohibited, the press is not allowed to present news reports which could incite worry among to the public. The order also allows the public to be evacuated from areas considered to be risky.” This should be borne in mind in considering, in the future, what is being reported now and in the next period of hours or days.

Some questions:

Will this lead to yet another military coup?

Why is Suthep still in a job?

At what point will the Invisible Hand decide that Abhisit should be let go?

Tomorrow, depending on what happens between now and then, I hope to touch upon the hypocriticial nonsense now being spouted about tourism losses.

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JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

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