Reds unlikely to up the ante unless the government is removed from officeBy Bangkok Pundit May 14, 2014 3:00PM UTC
In the aftermath of the removal of the Yingluck government, there has been a question about what will the reds do. There was a protest on the weekend at Aksa Road, however, it is not a full-on protest. It is more of a partial show of force. The location of Aksa Road is because (a) it is far away from the PDRC protests, (b) it is still in Bangkok (so the protests can still be called as being Bangkok) but this is also key strategically as it would likely be used as a base, and (c) as described by the Bangkok Post “sight of tents along a four-kilometre stretch of Aksa Road, not far from a residence of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn”. No doubt the travel of some people in the area is disrupted by the tents, but this is not like blocking off major intersections/roads in Central Bangkok.
Below are some excerpts from stories published in the last week
The judicial ouster of the prime minister angers long-time core supporters of the Shinawatra family. Tens of thousands of so-called Red Shirts, popular among the rural population in the northern part of the country, are expected to begin moving towards the capital for a mass rally here Saturday, according to protest organizers.
Former foreign minister Nappadon is hopeful that the red shirts will not provoke any violence.
“We have to prevent any possible clash with our opponents. Otherwise the clash or the violence would be cited as an excuse to stage a military coup or any uncalled-for military intervention,” he said.
Judges and tanks undermining election outcomes has given rise to Thailand’s anti-coup force, the Red Shirts, an upcountry-based faction that has vowed to fight back against any future coups. In March, senior-ranking Red Shirt leaders told GlobalPost that the faction was amassing recruits and evaluating their weapons skills in case the group needs to wage armed resistance against any future coup makers.
But Mahawon, an influential Red Shirt in the Shinawatra clan’s native province of Chiang Mai, said the ruling against Yingluck probably won’t provoke the Red Shirts to unleash their full-on, anti-coup strategy.
“We were bracing ourselves for this verdict. Everything our enemies do is to cripple the democratic process,” said Jatuporn Prompan, the leader of pro-Shinawatra “red shirt” activists. “The court chose a middle way today.”
Asked about a vow to resist Yingluck’s removal that had raised fears of violence, Jatuporn replied: “There is no reason why we should take up arms. We will rally peacefully as planned on May 10.”
“If we don’t fight for change today, we will never get real democracy,” said Jatuporn Prompan, head of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, or Red Shirts. “This country must have democracy and equality with no double standards. Whatever day you try to seize power, we will fight.”
“Prayuth said a coup isn’t the answer,” Jatuporn said late yesterday on his official Facebook page. “If he does it, he will face the Red Shirts. If he doesn’t, we will applaud him. If we don’t fight today, we will have no other chance.”
Appointing an unelected prime minister would “inflict a crisis on the nation, because the only solution for Thailand is democracy under the king as head of the state,” Jatuporn said.
“I want my voice to be heard by the presidents of three courts and the senate … that you are going to create a disaster in the nation,” he said.
“You are going to create a serious crisis that could lead to a civil war that no one wants to see.”
Red Shirt leaders warn they will “escalate their fight” if there is military intervention or the installation of a un-elected leader, raising fears of clashes or bombings in the capital.
BP: While the likelihood of a military coup has increased since the Court decision, it is still not the likely way to get rid of the government. The current military leadership would prefer someone else take on that high risk-low reward option. For now, all signs are pointing to this being done through either the Court or the Senate or a combination of both. While many reds are unhappy with the Court decision last week, it was not a knock-out blow. BP doesn’t seem that the threshold has been reached and this matched by what senior reds are saying. The threshold of when they would up the ante is the time that the Senate actually votes on or the Acting Speaker tries to nominates a PM (not sure the Court would get involved in the nominating process, but it applies equally to them if they did).