Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thailand military coup? Thai army leader defies order, suggests PM resign

Is a military coup about to take place in Thailand? The Bangkok Post reports:
Army commander Anupong Paojinda has rejected Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's call for a state of emergency and suggested instead the premier either resign or dissolve the House of Representatives to ease tensions, a source said. Key political partner Banharn Silpa-archa turned up the heat by demanding an urgent meeting with Premier Samak and other coalition leaders.
Related developments:
  • One report said Samak had been granted an audience by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Hua Hin last night. (NST, Singapore)
  • The Civil Court yesterday suspended its injunction to evict the People's Alliance for Democracy from Government House, saying execution of the order might inflict further damage. (Bangkok Post news flash)
Thailand appears to be in the midst of a political crisis. See this post for in-depth analysis.


  1. well - definetely something is underway !

    somehow only Channel 3 shows the development - police trying to keep at bay the huge procession.


  2. some guy on TV (commentator) is saying that tonight will be worse than yesterday

    PAD has exposed itself for what they are! they even attack reporters !

    funny though: senators request police to abstain from violence towards protesters. but WHY they don't ask protesters absatin from violence - like throwing stones and whatever heavy objects at police? and from violence towards reporters?

    evident hypocrisy.

    mob smashes windows in airport - what for? how such acts relate to their agenda to oust the government?

    it reminds me more and more about Bangladeshi "hartals" (bengali word for "strike"). during hartal times the WHOLE country will be literally paralyzed ! because the party which organizes strike would FORCE everybody to follow their demands - means, to stop ALL activities. often for many days, even few weeks. for example, mob will block all the main roads and national and even provincial highways and if some public bus will try to continue operating - they will stop it, beat or even kill the driver, set bus ablaze. even I recall seeing photos in newspaper that time - they even have set ablaze some riksha driver! Although rikshas are considered "small people" (poor and deserving pity) - because they caught him trying to make few Taka, not obeying them.

    eventually it has lead to the such a stalemate that as in most cases in Asia especially, Army has intervened and arrested leaders (Hasina and Zia) of both rival parties. and now the interim government trying to find the solution following the formula "2 out" - means, banning BOTH parties from politics.

    and this is unfortunately this is what it looks like PAD is doing here in Thailand too: they FORCE others to follow their strike. they sabotage transport and media, and some even fear that they will also try to stop other important agencies working like post, banks, companies.

    you want to protest and strike - do it yourself! why force other people who doesn't agree with you to join you?

    so, is it a "Democracy"? it is more like MOBOCRACY. shame on PAD !

    and shame on bangkok middle class which apparently doesn't do anything to put end to this anarchy which disturbs everybody.

    amazing that Samak could participate in "hok-tula" and also thai army were very tough when it was unjust - but when now it is only just to stop PAD, they are passive.

    I am afraid that this big Thai "hartal" will soon disrupt the normal functioning of the whole country !

  3. anybody knows what is this function about which is being shown on TV (ch. 5, ch 11) right now - seems like Crown Prince giving some sort of flags to guys in uniforms. and from the voice of commentators I understand these guys are police or army from each and every province?

  4. Anonymous,

    Bangkok Pundit describes an event involving the crown prince that had been planned to take place at government house on Dec. 30. Here's the link:

  5. well, prince promoting unity and PM attends it, gives speech ("From Mother Day to Father Day" ceremony at the Amporn Garden) while ... mob occupies the government house and the clerks can't come to do their work... mob attacks police HQ ... mobe attacks airports and vandalizes terminals ... army boss refuses to follow what PM says...

    also, Nation reports that at the same time princess (who is BTW also crown, as brother) arranges medical communication help for PAD ( ) - seems like she supports them?

    so much for "unity", huh?

    and although I don't want to speculate - but isn't it a bit... a coincidence may be, that all such things happen at the same time? looks more like all the big bosses come to re-confirm their allegiance to prince's camp (although on the surface it looks like bowing down to mother and father) - while princess somehow is not present there, but busy elsewhere making sure that PAD mobsters are being more successful in their actions ?

    BTW Samak has met with HMK already and about 9pm will meet with his party and allies to discuss the situation. let's wait for developments. I think that's why PAD wasn't making any big moves today - perhaps thay are waiting too for the outcome of that royal audience.

  6. plot thickens

    now finally DAAD comes out of slumber, I guess just about the time:

    DAAD counter-rally sets up its own shop
    "We won't hand over our country to the PAD. If the government falls due to anarchist activities by the PAD and is replaced by a new regime supported by the PAD, then we shall consider it a nominee of the PAD and will call for an even bigger protest to oppose it"

    Pro-government demonstrators to march Parliament at 7 am

    well, "unity indeed", huh ?
    more like: "who let the dogs out" :)

    because I have the feeling that DAAD and Co were passive on purpose since May (after those clashes), and now sort of got some signal to renew their activities.

    and if Chamlong and Sonthi thought that they are the champions of 'democracy' (more like 'mobocracy') - then most likely soon they will see that they are greatly outnumbered.

    another observation.
    today I spoke to some young fellas. I asked their opinions about current events. they said more or less: "I don't care about what they are doing. they think government is bad because.... for me though - I care about King."

    and after hearing that I realized that actually that's why it appears that most of people are surprisingly quite or passive about PAD's rampage. I thought - why they seems like indifferent, don't bother much.

    now I understand why: because for majority of Thais governments are something temporary, which comes and goes, and PMs even more so. so, they view government for what they are: more or less merely a formality, and PM as a figurehead.
    (at least Thais are more realistic and perhaps disillusioned than those in the West who believe their presidents are really elected and that their votes truly matter ! ) and therefore all this mess created by PAD and whatever is going on - it hardly stirs much the routine life of the rest of population. because for them it is more like a nuisance, yes, a bit bother, but not so much to concern them directly and personally. for most of people it is more like - one group is fighting with another for "power", which is anyway only superficial. while people have steady unflinching faith into person who is anyway by ANY constitution (or even when it is suspended) remains a head of all the governments, elected and not, and this person has been with Thai people for decades long, never changing unlike all those temporary figureheads.

    therefore, all this noise PAD makes, even siege and seizure of government house - is no more interesting for Thais than ... TV soap serials and jokers shows. perhaps even less.

    well, I understand them better now I guess. and I am not sure I can blame them - with all the mess created in many Western countries by their "elected" governments it is hard to say what is better. I think ordinary people have a bit different point of view on "stability" because they busy living their routine daily lives - so, for them stability means more like having some person who will be around for a long time, and people could trust him and depend on, and believe in. at least it provides 'stability' in their own minds and hearts - to hold some person sacred and trustworthy, in the crazy world of mess and corruption and injustice....

    yeah, I guess I understand them very well now ! may be not completely - but better than before, that's for sure.

  7. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the update on the counter-rally and your reflections about local attitudes.

    In Bangkok, I suppose it's hard to know how much of this feeling is their antipathy to PPP/Samak (which they likely did not vote for), and how much is faith in HM the King setting things right.

    Would be interesting to find out if people in Chang Mai or Issan have the same (complacent) attitude. Might not we expect counter-rallies in the north, esp. Chang Mai?

  8. hi guys, i have a trip planned to thailand this weekend (sept 4th). we are backpackers (two of us)and arrive in bangkok for three weeks. we were planning on using the train to travel aroung the country. what are your thoughts on this? would you recomend still going, is it safe? can we get out of bangkok and travel around the country (trains not running, buses, etc..). it seems like you are located in thailand so was looking for your thoughts on this. thanks alot.
    clif M.

  9. Hi Cliff, see this post:

    Here is a quote from it:

    A coalition of 43 unions representing workers at state companies including water, electric, phone and the national airline said they would cut off services to the government starting Wednesday in support of the anti-government protests. They already were disrupting rail service and planned to cut back public bus transportation.

    My recommendation: Consider visiting Indonesia instead. You can take the train around Java. Fewer tourists, friendly. At this hour, I could not advise you travel to Thailand.


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