Jonathan Fryer

Thaksin Calls for Revolution

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 13th April, 2009

thaksin-shinawatraThe exiled, ousted Thai politician Thaksin Shinawatra has declared that now the Thai army has tanks on the streets of Bangkok, ‘it is time for people to come out in revolution.’  Thousands of his red-shirted supporters brought chaos to the Thai capital over the weekend and forced the cancellation of a planned summit of leaders from the 10 ASEAN (South East Asian) countries in the coastal resort of Pattaya. They are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who was voted into power by the parliament in December, and has now imposed a state of emergency. Thaksin was removed from the premiership in 2006.

The Red Shirts have become increasingly violent in their anti-government protests, setting fire to buses, attacking government cars and throwing missiles, including petrol bombs, at police. But in return, the army has gone out onto the streets, firing live rounds into the crowds, as well as into the air, causing dozens of injuries. Fatalities are certain if the confrontation does not stop and there must be a likelihood of the military making a coup d’etat, as they have done on various occasions in Thailand’s recent history, unless some semblance of calm is restored. For the time being, Abhisit says he is hanging on in there, but his political position is perilous. And he can hardly complain about the Red Shirts taking to the streets, as the rival, conservative Yellow Shirts, who brought Bangkok’s airports to a standstill four months ago, as well as camping out in the capital’s administrative area, were larely responsible for the chain of events that brought him to power.

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38 Responses to “Thaksin Calls for Revolution”

  1. Ian said

    Yep the people in Bangkok have been coming out.They are sick of the red shirts burning tires creating stinking smoke and destroying buses which they depend on for transport.No bus service in central Bangkok today but the sky train is still running.Many shopping centres have closed.
    The Songkran celebrations continued on Kao San Road but the organisers were concerned about the safety of the foreigners so they asked people to stop mid-afternoon.
    Meanwhile there are protests in the provinces.The trains to Chiang Mai terminated at Lampang.The main road has been blocked in Khon Kaen.

  2. Ian said

    Red Shirt leaders outside Government House tell their supporters to disperse as they head to the Metropolitan Police Headquarters to surrender.

  3. Ian said

    Thaksin is seen going out shopping according to reports coming from the Middle East.

  4. Ian said

    Thursday and Friday are declared public holidays.
    The question now is will a government of National Unity be formed and who will lead it?

  5. Ian said

    Yellow shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul was wounded when his car was sprayed with bullets as he was on his way to work in the early morning.

  6. Luis Vega said

    Calling for a revolution from the safety and comfort of thousands of miles is an irresposible act in open contradiction of democratic principles. That a former national leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, did just that proved to some followers – and most of the world – he is a dangerous demagogue.

    Third World nations, like Thailand or in Latin America, are often vulnerable to this type egomaniac wrapped in the robes of social justice. Yet they persist because social injustice remains a tragic common factor in their countries, and the oppressed are always susceptible to false Mesiahs.

    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was publicly pushed to a corner by a mob of violent thugs willing to destroy the country to bring back their discredited leader. He showed wisdom and leadership (maintaining his composure) while plotting with security forces how to protect innocent civilians. Abhisit defeated Thaksin at his own game.

    Hopefully now the many intelligent leaders in Thai society will begin the essential debate necessary to keep democratic values alive in the midst of so much understandable frustration.

  7. Ian said

    The Red Shirts are to hold a rally in Samut Sakhon province on Saturday.
    The province has been chosen because it is not covered by the state of emergency and yet is close to Bangkok.
    Highlights of the rally will include video footage of the government’s alleged use of force against protesters during the April 8-14 demonstrations.

  8. Ian said

    Once again Bangkok is full of red shirts.
    Will the Democrat led government call an election to end the deadlock?

  9. Luis Vega said

    Calling for a revolution from the safety and comfort of thousands of miles is an irresposible act in open contradiction of democratic principles. That a former national leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, did just that proved to some followers – and most of the world – he is a dangerous demagogue.

    Third World nations, like Thailand or in Latin America, are often vulnerable to this type egomaniac wrapped in the robes of social justice. Yet they persist because social injustice remains a tragic common factor in their countries, and the oppressed are always susceptible to false Mesiahs.

    **Ditto: Principles don’t change.

  10. Ian said

    Thaksin may well not be thousands of miles away. He is thought to have left the UAE and may have gone to Cambodia.
    Meanwhile the government will not resign.
    Life goes on in Bangkok not so Dangerous.

  11. Ian said

    There was a reported sighting of Thaksin in Montenegro. He has a Montenegrin passport.
    The redshirts in Bangkok are drawing blood.

  12. Ian said

    Heavy rain this morning in Bangkok.
    It should help clean up the blood the redshirts are chucking about.
    I went to a shopping mall and security asked to check my bag. I don’t think it was my green shirt that raised suspicions.

  13. jonathanfryer said

    Ian — many thanks for your updates. Much appreciated!

  14. Ian said

    More to come Jonathan,things are far from over.Attempts to set up some kind of mediation between the protesters and the government have failed.
    Tomorrow (Saturday) the redshirts will be driving around Bangkok on motorcycles and in pickup trucks to try to get the support of local people.
    Now where did I put my peacock flag?

  15. Luis Vega said

    Although the Red Shirts appear to have been successful in getting world attention with their dramatic antics (throwing blood to the Prime Minister’s Abhisit Vejjajiva home), little progress was accomplished to obtain their real political goal. Which to many simply is the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to power.

    Perhaps because as Bangkok Post editor Voranai Vanijaka writes today: Thaksin is an absent landlord unwilling to sacrifice with his followers to attain better Thai democracy. One that would restore him to the throne of government. A democracy half the country rejects.
    http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/34786/thaksin-get-out

    It will be interesting to see how Thailand finally ends this political chapter and moves on to responsible government without revolt distractions because what many Thais want is national leadership committed to the social progress of its people. Whether Red or Yellow.

  16. Ian said

    I saw a few redshirts whizzing by on Charansanitwong Road yesterday(Saturday)but the main march along this road was cancelled.
    The government will hold talks with the redshirt leaders on Monday.
    I liked one of the pictures of the redshirt rally in todays Bangkok Post,a car with the words I am a poor man written on the windshield.The car- a Mercedes-Benz convertible

  17. Ian said

    Not much talk about talks today.
    500 redshirt motorcyclists to go around the city tomorrow(Tuesday)to put up stickers.
    Another rally next Saturday.
    Banglampoo was quiet today,not many people about.Not so good for the shopkeepers.

  18. Ian said

    Things are hotting up in Bangkok.A few bombs have gone off.
    The redshirts will try to get their Saturday rally into the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest political rally ever.We shall see.

  19. Ian said

    Whiteshirts gathered on Silom Road today to call for an end to the protests and for national unity.
    Various groups in the city are coming together to promote a peaceful and happy Thailand.

  20. Luis Vega said

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/world/asia/29thai.html?ref=world

    An amazing lesson of nation-building by Thai leaders; both Red and Yellow. The Thai military also earns also kudos for showing they represent the will of the people. All of Thai the people.

    It will be interesting to watch how this public (live on TV) display of civility impacts the development of the national political crisis. I bet on the Thais.

  21. Ian said

    It’s the weekend!
    Get ready for another redshirt rally.

  22. Ian said

    Today, which is a holiday, a mobile protest along the streets of Bangkok by the redshirts.
    The redshirts are using yellowshirt tactics.The question is how long can they maintain their protest?

  23. Ian said

    Rumour has it that the army may move to clear the streets of redshirts in the early hours of the morning(April 7th).

  24. Ian said

    It’s going to be Red Friday with the redshirt protest ongoing.

  25. Ian said

    Redshirts satellite station back on the air.
    Entrances to the Police Hospital blocked by redshirts.The Police Hospital is next to the Rajaprasong protest site.

  26. Ian said

    Clashes between troops and redshirts in Bangkok.Redshirt rallies at provincial city halls in northern cities.

  27. Ian said

    Subway and Skytrain closed.
    Buses to stop running at 9pm.

  28. Ian said

    It’s pretty grim.

  29. Luis Vega said

    “Calling for a revolution from the safety and comfort of thousands of miles is an irresposible act in open contradiction of democratic principles. That a former national leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, did just that proved to some followers – and most of the world – he is a dangerous demagogue” – Friday, 17th April, 2009.

    Lamentably, the situation deteriorated to violence and repression. The government had done all in its power to tolerate dissent but the Red Shirts kept pushing in towards open public confrontation.

  30. Ian said

    There is an uneasy calm in Bangkok at the start of the Songkran festival.
    Thaksin has kept a relative low profile during the last few weeks.It is rumoured that he has cancer,something he strongly denies.
    The Peoples Power Party,when in government,seemed to have little concern about bringing democracy in neighbouring Burma so the redshirt calls for democracy ring a little hollow.
    It is difficult to see a way out of the present impasse.
    Some of the minor political parties in the government have called for the election to be brought foward and be held in six months time.
    However the redshirts are refusing to enter into any negotiations.
    This leaves open another possibility- a military coup.

  31. Ian said

    The redshirts are moving from their Pha Fan bridge rally site to the one at Ratchaprasong.

  32. Ian said

    Attempts to arrest redshirt leader end with his escape.
    Overall situation remains confused.

  33. Ian said

    Cartoon in today’s Thai Rath newspaper.
    A man sees a group of foreign tourists
    at a temple and says the weather is very hot but why are they shirtless?
    A tourist replies they were advised not to wear red,yellow,pink,green,blue, black, white…shirts, so they have gone shirtless.
    Suthep loses security job,army now in charge of security.

  34. Ian said

    I found myself in one of the streets the redshirts have taken over in the city centre today. It was a bit like a street fair with t-shirts and other red stuff for sale, some free food for the redshirts of course.
    Not the great mass rally that is being promised as the army is not letting redshirts into the city.

  35. Ian said

    How are people recruited to join the crowds of protesters in Bangkok?
    One story I have just been told is that it costs 80 baht to get a red card(nor por chor card as it is called)but not anyone can get one because if a certain person(who is now living overseas) is the winner then the card becomes worth 100,000 baht.
    There is still some hope that talks can take place between the government and redshirts to end the protests.

  36. Ian said

    After yesterday evening’s mayhem on Silom Road the redshirts have softened their position on house dissolution. They are saying they will disperse if the government holds an election in 30 days and sets up an inquiry into the deaths on the 10th of April.

  37. Ian said

    Correction
    election in 90 days.

  38. Ian said

    After the violence and destruction of the last few days,I noticed on my way home that a redshirt sign near what was a Thai Rak Thai party branch building had been taken down.
    An indication that things are returning to normal but for how long?

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