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A Week in Review: April 24-30, 2010

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.  Just when you think common sense will finally prevail, Thailand’s political circus gets swamped in a sea of bananas. Read our week in review here...

There was the faintest glimmer of hope at the start of the week as the red shirts softened their stance and proposed house dissolution in 30 days with elections to be held 60 days later. However, the proposal was dismissed as impractical by the government and then promptly withdrawn by the reds.

It seemed at first that the government had passed up a golden opportunity to bring about a return to normalcy (whatever that is in Thailand), but the prime minister’s explanation that there is no point dissolving the house until a roadmap for lasting peace has been agreed by both sides made a lot of sense.

Throughout this crisis, Abhisit has remained calm and logical, even when he has been physically and verbally attacked by red thugs. I can never understand why he is so hated by the reds as he has done nothing but good for the country and is surely the best hope for Thailand in these difficult times.

On Sunday, the reds changed tactics as paranoia began to permeate their already unstable reasoning. Rumours of an imminent crackdown were constant. I personally believe that this is just part of a government policy of waging a psychological war of attrition to bring about a bloodless end to the siege.

Now there’s a funny thing. In a conventional siege, the invading army is on the outside of the city, surrounding a heavily guarded defensive force. Somehow we have got it back to front here. It’s a bit like Al Qaeda invading America and holding the country under siege from an enclave within.

As the paranoia set in, the reds in Bangkok shed their colours to make it easier for them to blend in with civilised people if their camp was raided. They even talked of waging guerrilla warfare, which many would say they had been doing for several weeks already.

Outside the capital, main roads into Bangkok were blocked by red guards to prevent police reinforcements from joining the security forces. Amazingly, some 50 police vehicles and 500 officers were thwarted by the illegal roadblocks and the country appeared to be headed for anarchy rather than democracy. To further display their contempt for the law, an M-79 grenade attack was launched on Chiang Mai police station.

Showing their true colours, the terrorists formerly known as reds (TFKR) aggressively confronted pro-government rallies in Bangkok and Korat as they unilaterally decided that freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate peacefully and legally don’t fit in with their unique brand of democracy. TV stations were surrounded and threatened for broadcasting pro-government news while 7 people were kidnapped by a mob of 3,000 who held their captors at a radio station in Ubon Ratchathani amidst claims that they were PAD (yellow shirt) guards. All the while, the outnumbered police looked idly on.

On Monday, there were some minor successes for the government when a convoy of border patrol police broke through a red blockade in Phitsanulok and a group of reds were arrested in Pathum Thani.

The reds managed to make themselves even less popular with Bangkokians on Tuesday when they blocked the sky-train by placing tyres on the tracks resulting in the temporary suspension of this vital commuter artery.

Also on Tuesday, the Bangkok Metropolitan Association (BMA) decided to stop collecting rubbish from the occupied lands after reds ambushed two of their trucks to use as barricades. Many among Bangkok’s silent majority feel that the free mobile toilets should also be withdrawn, especially after reds acted abusively to the BMA staff. Seeing their city held hostage, many Bangkokians want to take it even further and turn off water and electricity supplies to the invaders.

On Wednesday, a sortie of 2,000 reds broke cover riding on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks to northern Bangkok. Clashes with combined security forces ensued near Don Mueang Airport, resulting in one more tragic statistic when a soldier died of a gunshot wound to the head. It is believed to have been a case of “friendly fire” although at least some of the reds were clearly armed as seen in footage shown on Al Jazeera.  

The security forces managed to briefly encircle the reds and there were rumours that one of their leaders, Kwanchai Praipana, had been captured but of he finally managed to escape with the rest of the reds back to their base at Rachprasong. Some reds, however, didn’t make it back and one motorcyclist who was stopped at a checkpoint fled the scene, leaving behind 63 M-79 grenades.

While the sortie had been allegedly to join a rally at Talad Thai or even to set up a roadblock, there is the worrying possibility that it was nothing more than a foray to collect arms and return them to base as the reds stockpile war weapons in preparation for a bloody final battle. Since checkpoints were tightened, this would be their only means of bringing in extra arms.

The following day, a police chief was arrested for supplying the arms and the yellow shirts also started throwing about ultimatums, but by far the biggest news was the reds storming Chulalungkorn Hospital next to their western front because they believed troops were hiding inside. It proved to be another case of paranoia.

In the cold light of the following day, the ramifications of this unspeakable act were clear for all to see. The raid had been a PR disaster for the reds’ propaganda machine as pictures were spread across the media of 600 patients, including a mother and newborn baby, being evacuated from the hospital over understandable concerns for their safety.

To their credit, the reds responded admirably by dismantling their barricades in front of the hospital and it seemed as if the incident had at least allowed them to free up a part of the city without losing face. However, by Friday evening the barricades had unbelievably been re-erected.

Also on Friday, reds in Khon Kaen blocked the main road from the city’s airport and stopped all cars to search for Dr. Tul Sitthisomwong, leader of the pro-government multi-coloured shirts, as he had been due to lead a rally in the province.

So much for democracy!

Paul Snowdon – May 1, 2010

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Have your say...

31 Mar 2013, 14:57
Okay, ich glaube, ich sbcheire das hier lieber auf Deutsch. Keine Ahnung warum: Jedenfalls finde ich Paradorn nicht mal gutaussehend. Okay, vielleicht hat er einen tollen Kc3b6rper .but I digress. Keine Ahnung. Aber Miss Universe? Not that I care. Jedenfalls, Bangkok Post hat das als Schlagzeilen. Da sieht man, wie seric3b6s thailc3a4ndische Zeitung ist. Irgendwie hc3b6rt es sich so an fc3bcr mich fast wie The Sun. *LOL*
03 Apr 2013, 23:21
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