Bangkok Shutdown Enters 2nd Wk, Violence, Bloodshed Feared

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: January 21, 2014 Bangkok Shutdown Enters 2nd Wk, Violence, Bloodshed Feared

Bangkok Shutdown Enters 2nd Wk, Violence, Bloodshed Feared

Thailand’s anti-government Bangkok shutdown enters its 2nd wk and could intensify provoking more violence and bloodshed in the days ahead

Observers in Bangkok say that the street protests, which started last week Monday, will likely continue up to 2 February, the date for the new parliamentary elextions called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban and several ex- legislators of the Democrat Party have been orchestrating the street protests since the last few months have threatened to turn the Bangkok shutdown into an open-ended, off-parliament political phenom that will continue until Yingluck steps down.

Calling themselves the People’s Committee for Absolute Democracy, the protest leaders have ironically vowed to disrupt the electoral process which was called following Yingluck’s dissolution of the parliament last month.

The protesters intimidated and barred electoral candidates from applying to contest in several southern provinces and laid siege to a government-run printing office in Bangkok to stop it from printing voting ballots.

Police fired tear gas to disperse hordes of protesters at a stadium in the heart of the capital where they had tried to disrupt the drawing of lots for electoral numbers by political parties vying in the nationwide elections.

The sustained protests are feared to provoke grave, untoward incidents in the approaching weeks and beyond, according to the NSC chief. “The authorities have been very concerned over the possibility that unknown third hands could trigger violence and bloodshed on the streets thus exacerbating the situation,” he said.

Twenty-eight persons were injured  Friday by an explosive hurled into a crowd of protesters marching on Bantattong Road near Patumwan intersection, which is among several others currently occupied by the protesters. One was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Suthep who was inside a truck leading the protesters was unharmed and vowed not to stop the protests until Ms. Yingluck and her lameduck government are ousted from power.

More bloodshed on the city streets is feared since Suthep threatened to have his followers and their armed bodyguards abduct Ms. Yingluck and force her to resign as acting Premier.

This has prompted the police to “plan a mission” to arrest Suthep in a “non-violent” manner.

Police Chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew sidestepped questions as to how soon that mission might be put to work or how to cope with some 40 bodyguards of Suphep, known to be fully armed.

According to a commanding police officer, violence and bloodshed could not be prevented the moment some outsiders use explosives or guns to disrupt the protest movement.

Most of the bodyguards of the protest leaders are known to be heavily armed and they could create trouble and then blame the authorities for the ensuring violence or bloodshed, one security officer said.

Despite the street protests, Army chief Gen. Prayudh Chan-ocha has categorically dismissed speculations that the military might help the anti-government protesters albeit in tacit, hidden manner. But the arrest of several plainclothes soldiers who acted as bodyguards of protest leaders told an entirely different story. They were arrested on charges of carrying handguns without permission.

That prompted Undersecretary of Defense Gen. Nipat Tonglek to instruct the commanding officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force to strictly prohibit their subordinates to act as bodyguards for protesters, either during or after working hours.

“Any unbecoming act of military officers or uses of weapons without permission will certainly cause a disgrace and damage to the military establishment as a whole. The military is strictly neutral in politics,” Gen. Nipat said.

Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn expressed fears that election officials and employees as well as voters could be subjected to harassment by the protesters during and before the balloting. He earlier called for the postponement of the polls until early May.

But Ms. Yingluck and several members of her caretaker Cabinet maintained that neither the government nor the polling agency is legally allowed to reschedule the polling date and that both would be charged with negligence of duty if they move the date of the election.

This is an ongoing story, stay tuned…


Paul Ebeling

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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.

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