In trying to assess what yesterday’s actions by the military in declaring martial law will bring, BP will look at the reaction of various groups. This post is on the reaction from the PDRC and anti-Thaksin groups.

The Nation:

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has staged a months-long protest against the government and called for reform before any election.

As required under the martial law, the PDRC yesterday agreed to vacate the Santi Maitri Building in Government House and cancel its planned marches.

PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban, however, urged his supporters to continue rallying because they would need to shape the direction of Thailand’s future.

Suthep also asked the Senate to name a new prime minister quickly – something the UDD has strongly opposed.

Satit Wongnongtaey, a PDRC co-leader, believed the martial law would benefit his group in that no violence would rock its rally sites again. Several PDRC demonstrators were killed and injured during the past months.

Phra Buddha Issara, another PDRC leader, has also interpreted the martial law as a good sign.

“At least it shows soldiers have the courage to help the country out of its crisis,” he said.

Below are some posts from the official PDRC Facebook page:

Post 1:

The proclamation of Martial Law means that the Constitution is still in effect. Do not be confused. The muanmahaprachachon still retain the right and the liberty to demonstrate against the tyrannical government in accordance with our Constitution.

Post 2:

Victory means the triumph of Thailand and all Thais:
1) The Thaksin regime must be uprooted and eradicated.
2) There must be a new prime minister with full competence and authority to address and solve national problems.
3) There must be the establishment of a new government without politicians.
4) The prime minister and government must work for the people, and reform Thailand according to the people’s intentions.

Post 3:

I had scheduled a meeting with government agencies on 22 May, which General Prayuth has now taken on himself. He is exemplary. I heard him answer the press that the army will collectively take on responsiblity for resolving the current crisis. This means that our demands have been taken into account.

If within 2 – 3 days the Senate still dances around the selection of a new prime minister, we may have to request the military and civil servants to join forces with the people.

If no action has been taken by the Senate at that time, we will have to take action. Don’t cheer yet – we have not yet won. We still don’t have a new PM. However, if we had not come out, no change would have taken place. The other side only knows how to recite the term “elections, elections, elections.”

This task requires swift action. We are still designating 26 May as the date we reclaim sovereign authority, at the previously scheduled time of 19.00 hours. Without a concrete date and time the Senate will continue its inaction.

Post 4:

Please spread the news to your friends and family that we must continue our good fight. If we do not have a sufficient show of strength, we shall not prevail. Much damage and death will come about if tyranny returns. We must therefore move swiftly and assemble to chase out the vestiges of despotism. We must demonstrate to demand a new prime minister. I realize those of you who have supported us through your television screens may be feeling frustrated. Now is the time for you to come cheer us in person. We have only a few more days left on this journey. Only a few more days of going forward shoulder-to-shoulder to procure victory for Thailand and all Thais.

Post 5:

Friday 23 May
17.00 hrs. Fill up Sukhumvit road.
18.00 hrs. National Anthem followed by whistle-blowing
21.00 hrs. Departure

Repeat on Saturday 24 May and Sunday 25 May

Monday 26 May: head directly to Sanam Luang
We shall announce that sovereign authority has been reclaimed by the people of Thailand. We must assemble in the millions to demonstrate to them that this is not just an old Kamnan by himself. We can no gather without fear as CAPO police have all been sent back home. CAPO is gone.

The other day CAPO attempted to send units in to capture me and arrest our efforts. However, the imposition of Martial Law has resulted in the termination of CAPO. Only PDRC core leader Lookmee (Chumpol Julsai) is disappointed because he had volunteered to surround CAPO. Don’t worry, we will find another task for you.

We can now assemble without fear. The military won’t attack our peaceful gathering; rather, they are here to protect us. We should therefore embrace Martial Law. The remaining police units no longer take orders from CAPO.

Below is video of Suthep last night:

BP: Suthep says the government knew nothing about the martial law and cites Chaturon for this. From listening to Suthep, he is pleased about the declaration of martial law (talks about how he loves Prayuth now and he generally sounds upbeat), but he hasn’t got what he wanted so is not letting up (for now). This is to ensure the Senate will act, but will Suthep’s announced march be in compliance with martial law?* What will Prayuth do?

*(UPDATE) Order No. 2 issued by peace-Keeping Command Centre states that protest groups should only protest in their specified area (ห้กลุ่มมวลชนชุมนุมในพื้นที่ที่กำหนด) and for the PDRC and their supporters that is at Ratchadmonern and Chaeng Wattana (ให้ชุมนุมถนนราชดำเนินและศูนย์ราชการแจ้งวัฒนะ)…