Thailand: Crackdown Expected After Violent Protest

logo_header_prem.jpg (JPEG Image, 758x71 pixels)

Thailand: Crackdown Expected After Violent Protest
July 23, 2007 19 23  GMT

Summary
An anti-government protest in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) became violent July 22 when protesters began throwing bottles and other objects at security forces. Previous rallies sponsored by the UDD in the Thai capital were peaceful. Despite the violence, the protest does not indicate a major uprising; rather, it was a poorly thought-out attempt by devotees of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to create trouble for the current regime.

Analysis
More than 100 people were injured July 22 at an anti-government protest in Bangkok, Thailand, when demonstrators began throwing bottles and other objects at security forces. The protest, sponsored by the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), drew about 5,000 demonstrators. Previous rallies in Bangkok organized by the UDD have been peaceful. The rally took place outside the residence of Prem Tinsulanonda, president of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Privy Council, whom the UDD accused of instigating the September 2006 coup that ousted then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The UDD has been trying mightily to draw support and was hoping to use the protest to bolster existing criticism against the regime.

Instead of the beginning of a move toward more violent protests in the Thai capital, this particular outbreak more likely was a slip-up by police, who had too few officers on the ground. The protesters were able to take advantage of the inadequate security at barriers, causing the violence to escalate.

Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the leader of the Thai army and a strong promoter of the use of emergency decrees, said the situation is under control and there is not a need to take more severe measures such as declaring a state of emergency. His statement demonstrates the Thai government’s confidence that the protest, violent though it was, poses no threat. Rather, it gives the regime a fresh excuse to crack down harder on Thaksin supporters. Neither the members of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party who have aligned with new parties nor the members of the new TRT who are attempting to restore the party to power will benefit from the protest; the regime’s crackdown will only hurt the efforts of each group.

The July 22 protest does not indicate a major uprising or increasing tensions in Bangkok. Though demonstrations are planned in the run up to the elections and constitutional referendum, the latest protest’s violence does not reflect the general public’s mood. Instead, the protest was a poorly thought-out attempt by Thaksin devotees to create trouble for the regime and a last-ditch effort to express their political grudges.

Advertisements

ใส่ความเห็น

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: