Thailand’s bloody dictatorship


This video says about itself:

Dance, Dance, Dance. How Protests in Bangkok Started, Thailand, March 2010.

From Der Spiegel in Germany:

SPIEGEL correspondent Thilo Thielke was in Bangkok the day the Thai Army cleared the Red Shirt camps. It was the last day he would work with his friend and colleague, Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi, who died from a gunshot wound.

Following last Wednesday’s military crackdown, Thai Prime Minister Vejjajiva has ruled out a national election in the immediate future and continued the state of emergency in Bangkok and other provinces: here.

Indonesian solidarity with the democracy struggle in Thailand: here.

Despite its calls for “reconciliation” in the wake of last week’s military’s crackdown on the “Red Shirt” protests, the Thai government is extending its dragnet of opposition leaders and supporters: here.

Thailand: No justice for Red Shirt detainees: here.

Despite the government’s promises of reconciliation, the climate of repression continues in Thailand, with emergency rule still in force and key opposition leaders either in jail or being hunted by security forces: here.

Up to 20,000 Red Shirt supporters rallied at a concert in the Thailand seaside resort city of Pattaya on September 4, in what was one the biggest mobilisations since the military bloodily dispersed their mass protest camp in Bangkok on May 19, 2010, killing 91 and injuring thousands more: here.

Thailand: Thousands demand release of political prisoners (+ photo essay): here.

“Thailand’s army declared martial law before dawn Tuesday in a surprise announcement it said was aimed at keeping the country stable after six months of sometimes violent political unrest. The military, however, denied a coup d’etat was underway.” This is what martial law looks like in Thailand, and there’s a lot of selfies involved. [AP]

“Thailand’s army chief announced a military takeover of the government Thursday, saying the coup was necessary to restore stability and order after six months of political deadlock and turmoil.” See photos of martial law in effect. [AP]

Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha formally seized power yesterday afternoon and announced himself as prime minister, two days after imposing martial law and taking control of Thailand. The army has now dissolved the elected Pheu Thai government, suspended the constitution, imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., taken over all radio and TV stations and banned gatherings of more than five people: here.

Thai-Cambodian border clash driven by internal political tensions: here.

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10 thoughts on “Thailand’s bloody dictatorship

  1. Opposition seeks to censure Thai PM over crackdown

    By THANYARAT DOKSONE (AP) – 1 hour ago

    BANGKOK — Opposition leaders moved to censure Thailand’s prime minister Monday for his handling of rioting and violence in Bangkok that left at least 85 people dead in clashes between demonstrators and troops over the past two months.

    The shell-shocked capital took steps back toward normalcy Monday, with schools and many offices open for the first time after a week of government-ordered holidays and following efforts to clean up parts of the capital barricaded by the Red Shirt protesters or burned in riots.

    The motion to censure Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was introduced by the opposition Pheu Thai Party — allies of ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, whom the Red Shirt protesters generally support. It also sought to censure several of his top Cabinet members, including the finance, foreign and transport ministers.

    The motion was largely symbolic. It would require a vote in Parliament and was expected to be easily defeated because Abhisit and his supporters have more votes. Details on the specific reasons for the censure had not been released to the media.

    The motion underscores a growing political and social rift that has opened up since the so-called Red Shirt protesters swept into Bangkok in March to begin two months of protests demanding Abhisit resign and call early elections.

    The protesters moved into Bangkok’s central business district, building bamboo-and-tire barricades and controling checkpoints that crippled one of the city’s most important shopping and tourism areas.

    While the protests themselves were generally peaceful, several shootings and grenade attacks were blamed on a militant Red Shirt wing. Two military crackdowns led to deadly street clashes between soldiers and protesters.

    All told, at least 88 people — mostly Red Shirts who were shot — died in protest-related violence, including 16 people killed in last Wednesday’s crackdown when soldiers stormed Red Shirt strongholds. Some protesters threw grenades and torched dozens of buildings as they fled in the worst political violence Bangkok has seen in decades.

    All but one of the top Red Shirt leadership were in custody Monday after the surrender of two more key figures, but the nation’s deputy prime minister warned that the movement behind the protests is still a threat.

    Suthachai Yimprasert and Somyot Pruksakasaemsuk surrendered to police Monday morning, the government’s Thai News Agency said, as Bangkok residents returned to work after a week of government-ordered holidays.

    Thailand’s stock exchange, one of dozens of buildings torches as the protesters fled a military push on their main protest site last week, also reopened, along with schools, businesses and much of the transport system.

    The capital remained under a nighttime curfew, however, and a state of emergency.

    Abhisit on Sunday extended that curfew until at least Tuesday and said he will consider early elections only after the violence that has wracked the nation is completely over.

    Elections are seen as a key step toward healing the deep divide that has split Thailand between supporters of Abhisit and the Red Shirts, who are made up mainly of the urban and rural poor and see Abhisit’s government as elitist and illegitimate.

    The Red Shirts see Abhisit’s government as illegitimate because a Thaksin-allied party — not Abhisit’s Democrats — won 2007 elections to restore democracy after a military coup ousted Thaksin previous year.

    Abhisit has accused Red Shirt followers of planning further protests and violence, although he has stressed that the government was in control and that the capital has largely returned to normal.

    Hoping to appease the protesters, Abhisit earlier this month offered to hold elections on Nov. 14. But the reconciliation plan fell through when Red Shirt leaders, who want him to resign immediately, made more demands.

    Many analysts believe the Red Shirts could cause unrest for years to come. Thaksin lives in exile after his 2006 ouster in a military coup and subsequent conviction on corruption-related charges, but he continues to influenceThai politics.

    Abhisit’s government took power in December 2008, not through an election but by a vote in Parliament, to fill the power vacuum after disputed court rulings ousted two elected pro-Thaksin governments.

    Associated Press writers Eric Talmadge, Vijay Joshi and Denis Gray contributed to this report.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  2. Bail refused for red shirt leaders

    Thailand A court has refused bail to 11 top democracy activists who have been charged with terrorism over their role in protests that paralysed central Bangkok between March 12 and May 19.

    The Thai Criminal Court said that the protesters, who clashed with soldiers as the military moved against “red shirt” encampments, would have an opportunity to escape if granted bail.

    If found guilty of terrorism, the 11 senior protesters face execution by firing squad.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/91585

  3. Activists stage symbolic protest

    Thailand: Several hundred pro-democracy activists defied a state of emergency in Bangkok on Sunday to stage a symbolic protest, with hundreds of people sprawling on the ground and chanting: “People died here.”

    The demonstration at the city’s Democracy Monument was peaceful, but it was the latest sign of simmering discontent since the army killed scores of activists on May 19 as they cleared a Red Shirt camp and crushed 10 weeks of demonstrations for early elections.

    Two grenades have exploded in Bangkok over the past week, killing one bystander and wounding 11.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/93561

  4. Pilots survive air force jet crash

    THAILAND: Two air force jets taking part in a joint military exercise with the US crashed in Chaiyaphum province today morning, seconds after the pilots safely ejected.

    Air Vice-Marshal Montol Suchookorn said an investigation team had been sent to the scene of the crash.

    The planes were taking part in Exercise Cobra Gold, an annual joint Thai-US military exercise.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/101060

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