Jonathan Fryer

Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Woes

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 10th April, 2009

Protesting outside summits is the flavour of the month. Barely have the G20 demonstrators been pushed out of the City of London than police in the Thai resort of Pattaya are trying to keep red-shirted supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra away from the hotel where leaders from the 10 South East Asian countries are due to gather for an ASEAN summit. In this case, though, the protest and associated anger are essentially domestic, as the demonstrators are calling for the current PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva, to resign. The protest leader, Arismun Pongreungrong, said the Redshirts do not intend to damage anything, but ‘we have to show the world that this government is not democratic.’

It would be a shame if the protests did disrupt the summit, as ASEAN needs a meeting to discuss the region’s approach to the current global economic and financial crisis. Mr Abhisit and the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, were both at the G20 summit in London, but the Pattaya meeting should be more than a report-back from that. As I wrote in an article for the next issue of Diplomat magazine, the situation of the different ASEAN member states varies enomously. Indonesia, for example, still expects to enjoy around four per cent growth this year, whereas Singapore — which is heavily dependent on trade — has seen a sharp contraction. It will be interesting to see if ASEAN can come up with a more united front than the EU has managed to do.

In the meantime, Abhisit has to figure out how to deal with the wave of pro-Thaksin protests that has been sweeping the country for months, as well as the polarisation in Thailand between the Redshirts and the yellow-shirted campaigners of the conservative People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is close to some members of Abhisit’s government yet also keeping a close eye on the Prime Minister’s performance.

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9 Responses to “Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Woes”

  1. Ian said

    The Red Shirts at the Victory Monument in Bangkok are about to move back to their protest site near Government House.
    The hospitals near the Victory Monument traffic circle where unable to obtain supplies or move patients due to the blocked roads.
    Meanwhile in Pattaya the Red Shirts have broken into the hotel compound where the Asean summit is being held.

  2. Ian said

    It’s not looking good.
    Asean meeting abandoned after the red shirts stormed the hotel.
    The agreements are to be signed at a meeting in Bangkok next August.
    On my way home today I saw soldiers posted outside shopping centres in Bangkok.

  3. Ian said

    State of Emergency declared in Bangkok.

  4. Ian said

    The military are moving in to take control of the traffic intersections in Bangkok.Normally the city is very quiet at this time of year as many people leave during the Songkran holiday.

  5. Luis Vega said

    Very difficult the current situation in Thailand. Violent protests, directed from the outside, damage the image of the country, its economy and leaders. Besides forcing the nation to regress, not progress, to the detriment of all Thais.

    No country can be ruled by chaos or lead by revolt on the streets; that’s called anarchy. Hope you soon find a path to peace and the courage to do what is necessary.

  6. Ian said

    After the Pattaya debacle PM Abhisit Vejjajiva’s standing has risen again with the bringing of law and order on the streets of Bangkok.

  7. Ian said

    Today(Sunday) PM Abhisit Vejjajiva calls on every Thai political party to propose amendments to the constitution within the next two weeks.

  8. Ian said

    State of Emergency lifted in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

  9. [...] Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Woes [...]

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