Sunday, October 12, 2008

Royalist mediation between Thai protesters and the government?

The Bangkok Post reports that in the aftermath of confrontation last week between police and PAD protesters in Bangkok, General Prem, head of the HM the King's Privy Council, might offer to mediate between the PPP led Thai government and the protest leaders.

The neutrality of Prem has been the subject some dispute. It has been quite widely speculated that Prem was behind the military coup of 2006. They have called it a "royalist coup."

It has also been observed that many royalists have been supportive of the PAD street protests.

The paper also reports Thai army chief Gen Anupong has urged that an investigation be held into allegations of police brutality during last weeks violent confrontations between protesters and police.

"I am not saying the government is wrong or not wrong. But it must take responsibility. It depends how it will take responsibility," he said.

And in yet another development, 10,000 counter-protesters wearing red shirts have taken to the streets. They are part of a movement called the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). The Bangkok Post reports that they joined former minister Jakrapob and other PPP leaders Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi province. The paper notes:
It was the first gathering of government supporters since the Sept 2 clash between the pro- and anti-government camps on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, which left one UDD member dead and more than 40 people from both sides injured.

The same newspaper reports that members of this group attacked a hospital van in the city of Chang Mai. They demanded to know the names of the doctors at hospital who refused to treat police during the protests.

Finally, The Nation reports that Prime Minister Somchai says he has to "study the pros and cons of each scenario, such as dissolving the House or resignation."

According to the newspaper, a party meeting early in the week is expected to influence Somchai's decision. I suppose a phone call to a certain in-law residing in London might also factor into the decision.

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