Some 70,000 people dressed in red and descended on the Rajamangala Stadium to demonstrate their support for democracy. The good-natured and wholly peaceful crowd also had the opportunity to listen to a phoned in speech by exiled and ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was said to be in Hong Kong for the purpose. Khun Thaksin spoke of the global financial crisis and Thailand’s part in it and also said he would not be able to return home for ten years unless there was mercy from the royal institution or ‘people’s power.’
It was all quite a contrast to the PAD mob’s illegal occupation of government house – PAD thugs shot another innocent unarmed individual overnight. The PAD mob and its celebrity sponsors can scarcely muster 10,000 useful idiots to parade in the streets these days – there is no doubt that the will of the people calls for democracy in Thailand.
PM Somchai Wongsawat has confirmed that the government is willing to hold talks with the PAD mob, with a view to ending the ongoing protests. PAD ringleaders appear to be divided over this – some will talk and some will not. One interesting story in the Bangkok Post yesterday described the Santi Asoke Buddhist sect – there are more than 10,000 of these brown-clad frauds, apparently. They have been expelled from the Sangha – the world body of Buddhist monks, which is the oldest social organization there is. Although they masquerade as Buddhist monks, they are not recognized as such in law and could be arrested and defrocked by police, although this is sadly unlikely to happen in the near future. The movement supports the PAD mob and a spokesperson has said: ”Thailand needs going back to that period of political upheaval in 1932 and starting its new democracy … It is not a backward move if we go back to the old system, living in the same way as the followers of the Buddha walking barefoot with no air-conditioning.” That’s exactly the kind of clear thinking we need to ward off the global financial crisis.