As it happened, we were at Viphawadi-Rangsit Road on Saturday, since our daughter was visiting her dentist on one of the sois off the road in the afternoon. Red-shirted pro-democracy demonstrators were up and down the road all the time we were there, while many of those people who were still working were wearing red in solidarity with the struggle against aristocracy-rule. People visited the shops along the soi handing out ‘dissolve parliament’ stickers. The atmosphere was again one of celebration and anticipation – this time, there really can be the change that people want.
I haven’t been to the centre of the city to see the occupation of the retail centre areas but, on the way to work this morning I travelled along Ratchada Road and there were some thousands (I find it very difficult to estimate numbers) protesting in and outside the grounds of the court there.
The opposition is plain to see: a motley crew of ageing fascist sympathizers and PAD thugs, as well as the usual useful idiots who have sucked too long on the teat of state-mandated ideological state apparatuses, gathered in a masquerade for ‘peace’ in their pink shirts (wonder whether they were paid for by the same person who cannot be named otherwise … well, for obvious reasons – the same person who is believed to have paid for the occupation of government house and the international airports). While there, they sang the song ‘Scum of the earth’ (nak phaendin), which was used in the massacre of dozens of students by military butchers in the 1970s.
Well, the interesting times are starting up again – in truth, they have never really gone away. Pro-Democracy supporters (they are the ones in the red shirts) are rallying in Bangkok and different points around the country – they vow to bring down the unelected Abhisit government and the Privy Councillor Prem Tinsulanonda, who has been accused of (and is widely believed to have been, which is a code) responsible for the 2006 military coup. General Prem, who previously enjoyed eight years as an unelected prime minister and numerous other unelected posts, denies everything. The Bangkok Post says this (under an inaccurate ‘refutes’ headline):
“Gen Prem denied that he was a party to the Sept 19 2006 coup led by former army chief Sonthi Boonyaratkalin that overthrew the Thaksin government.
The statesman said he had no duty to stage a coup or authority to command Gen Sonthi to do so.
The Thaksin government at that time was in a bad state because other people were trying to topple him, he said.
Gen Prem also said he did not lead army commanders to see His Majesty the King on Sept 19 2006, as alleged. He was already with the King at Chitralada Palace before they arrived.”
I think readers will be able to make up their own minds without me saying anything about this.
Ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra named Prem and General Surayud Chulanont, who was suddenly named PM after the coup, as being personally responsible. Surayud also denies any wrongdoing even though [snipped the other part of this sentence on second thoughts].
[Snipped the next paragraph as well – free speech? This is Thailand and even if obscure English language blogs are not top of the suppression list, it is better to be safe than sorry.]
I do hope that there will not be any violence – but we know from many previous examples that the right will not give up power to the people without drinking a lot of blood first. Just like 1973 and 1976, it may alas come to the same thing again.