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Rival groups demonstrate in Thailand as election tensions grow


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Rival groups demonstrate in Thailand as election tensions grow

By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Panarat Thepgumpanat

 

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A placard mocking Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha as Pinocchio is seen as activists hold up candles while gathering to demand quick elections to end military rule at a university in Bangkok, Thailand, January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Rival groups held demonstrations in Thailand's capital on Saturday, with hundreds of people demanding quick elections to end military rule and a much smaller group of pro-junta supporters saying it was too soon for a vote.

 

The competing protests were tiny compared to those that paralysed Bangkok in 2014 before the army seized power in the name of ending instability, but were an indication of the tensions in the run-up to a long-delayed ballot.

 

No date has been set for an election which was first promised for 2015 and most recently postponed from Feb. 24.

 

Hundreds joined a demonstration calling for elections on March 10.

 

"We're calling for elections as soon as possible," activist Sirawith Seritiwa told the crowd.

 

The junta has said the most recent election delay is because of scheduling difficulties with planning for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in early May - although it has said it still wants the ballot held before those ceremonies.

 

The Election Commission of Thailand has given March 10 or March 24 as possible polling dates, but no date has been set and a royal decree must be issued before it can be.

 

Some 1 km (0.6 miles) from the demonstration calling for elections, around 30 counter-protesters gathered with placards at the Democracy Monument. They said they were not opposed to a ballot, but national unity must come first.

 

"We can wait for elections," the group's leader, Jathurun Bunbenjara, told reporters. "We don't agree with protests that create chaos... We want to see Thais come together and hold an auspicious and great coronation."

 

Thailand's longstanding political divide is between strongly royalist and pro-military conservatives and "red shirt" populists linked to exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who have won every election since 2001.

 

Despite measures by the junta to entrench the ruling generals' hold on power after any election, opinion polls have shown that Thaksin's supporters remain politically strong.

 

Activist Sirawith denied that the group intended to create chaos ahead of the coronation - saying that holding elections earlier would reduce that danger.

 

It will be the first Thai coronation in living memory. The king's revered late father ruled for more than 70 years until his death in 2016.

 

REUTERS: 2019-01-20

 

 

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9 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

Thailand's longstanding political divide is buetween strongly royalist and pro-military conservatives and "red shirt" populists

so the vote boils down to inept, corrupt military such as rules us now or corrupt politicians; either way, corruption wins,again

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20 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

A placard mocking Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha as Pinocchio is seen

love the pinocchio but doubt he is smart enough to get it

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11 minutes ago, YetAnother said:

so the vote boils down to inept, corrupt military such as rules us now or corrupt politicians; either way, corruption wins,again

Well, yea, but elected politicians who are sobs are the people's sobs because they were put in there by the people. 

 

But the generals, mostly sobs, are no one's. They're just sobs that we have to put up with if we don't want to get shot in the head.

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32 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

and a much smaller group of pro-junta supporters saying it was too soon for a vote.

No prizes for guessing who recruited these misguided fools or for wondering if their participation would be 'funded'.

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I love the fact that Thais are willing to hit the streets because they care about their government.

But I still wish this didn't need to happen. Hope it is peaceful and nobody gets hurt.

I have no opinion as to how their government should be - because I'm not Thai.

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A few hundred demonstrators. Lol.

I doubt if the military junta will be too concerned about this demonstration when they decide to postpone the election again. 

Apathy is alive and kicking.

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13 minutes ago, Bang Bang said:

Well, yea, but elected politicians who are sobs are the people's sobs because they were put in there by the people. 

 

But the generals, mostly sobs, are no one's. They're just sobs that we have to put up with if we don't want to get shot in the head.

Small difference though voted in crooks are marginally different. Too bad that the people don't realise that for Thailand to progress they need honest politicians not corrupt ones. 

 

Its always fun to see those in power act just like the previous mob in power. Always lying denying stalling and being incompetent and corrupt. I started hating the Shins because it was them who were in power when i first arrived here and saw all the corruption incompetence and lying. So i supported a coup as i thought it would help only to see the new mob being just as bad. 

 

There is no difference and depending on how long you have been here people will see they are all the same (unfortunately) with some extreme examples sticking out (Suthep, Charlem, Thaksin, Prawit, Prayut). None of these guys ever listens to others or admits any mistakes even when its clear for everyone to see.

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14 minutes ago, robblok said:

Too bad that the people don't realise that for Thailand to progress they need honest politicians not corrupt ones. 

I am not sure they have ever experienced this phenomenon. Would be hard for them to realise there are honest politicians, I certainly don't remember too many. 

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3 minutes ago, PatOngo said:

I am not sure they have ever experienced this phenomenon. Would be hard for them to realise there are honest politicians, I certainly don't remember too many. 

They probably don't get that as long as there is so much corruption (money to be made when in power) the fight to be in power will go on. The more money at stake the dirtier the fight will be, bombings, coups, streetfights / protests. The circle will go on and on. 

 

The people saying respect elections are right but as long as there is so much money at stake it just won't happen. Especially when those wanting power see how corrupt those in power are and know how much they are losing out. Root out the corruption with good laws and organisations and the appeal to get in power will be less as there is not that much money to be made anymore.

 

Until that history will repeat itself again and again.

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1 hour ago, Chippy151 said:

A few hundred demonstrators. Lol.

I doubt if the military junta will be too concerned about this demonstration when they decide to postpone the election again. 

Apathy is alive and kicking.

Yes, that is exactly what I noticed immediately - just 'hundreds' of demonstrators, and in fact described as 'tiny' numbers (in comparison with the 2014 demos). Moreover, they are not even calling for a February 24 election - but a March 10th one!

This, and the small numbers, will not help.

In fact, the tiny turnout makes postponement more likely.

The only thing that can save the day is MASSES AND MASSES - MILLIONS - of Thais displaying peaceful non-cooperation (not paltry 'hundreds').

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No prizes for guessing who recruited these misguided fools or for wondering if their participation would be 'funded'.

They are from the same group who created the “instability” for Prayuth and Prawit - to use as an excuse to take over the country.


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1 hour ago, ding said:

I love the fact that Thais are willing to hit the streets because they care about their government.

But I still wish this didn't need to happen. Hope it is peaceful and nobody gets hurt.

I have no opinion as to how their government should be - because I'm not Thai.

Shall we count the pieces of nonsense in this post?

 

1. It is not a "fact" Thais are "hitting the streets".

 

2. A few opposing small bands have made brief demonstrations

 

3. Whether they care about their government or not, they are irrelevant until (or if) they metamorphose into something more substantial. 

 

4. Why does he wish (one assumes he means) larger protests didn't need to happen? See 5

 

5. Larger street protests have historically enabled change in Thailand - not always immediate.

 

6. If this fellow wants all to be peaceful it would require activists and citizens to stay at home. In any case, see 7

 

7. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" -   Thomas Jefferson

 

8. The last line of the post is not only laughable but inane. It's clear that his opinion is fairly puerile but few would suggest he has no right to express it because he isn't Thai. See 9

 

9. There might be some logic to suggest a foreigner should be circumspect but it requires a higher order of idiocy to suggest he should have no opinion. See 10

 

10. However, if he really believes foreigners should have 'no opinion', he should ask the owners of TV to close down political discussions on the forum.

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3 hours ago, rooster59 said:

They said they were not opposed to a ballot, but national unity must come first.

 

tow  the  line  eh

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45 minutes ago, jayboy said:

Shall we count the pieces of nonsense in this post?

 

1. It is not a "fact" Thais are "hitting the streets".

 

2. A few opposing small bands have made brief demonstrations

 

3. Whether they care about their government or not, they are irrelevant until (or if) they metamorphose into something more substantial. 

 

4. Why does he wish (one assumes he means) larger protests didn't need to happen? See 5

 

5. Larger street protests have historically enabled change in Thailand - not always immediate.

 

6. If this fellow wants all to be peaceful it would require activists and citizens to stay at home. In any case, see 7

 

7. "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" -   Thomas Jefferson

 

8. The last line of the post is not only laughable but inane. It's clear that his opinion is fairly puerile but few would suggest he has no right to express it because he isn't Thai. See 9

 

9. There might be some logic to suggest a foreigner should be circumspect but it requires a higher order of idiocy to suggest he should have no opinion. See 10

 

10. However, if he really believes foreigners should have 'no opinion', he should ask the owners of TV to close down political discussions on the forum.

What a powerful post (above)! You don't pull any punches, do you, my friend, Jayboy?! You should be prosecuting counsel in a law court - your every observation hits home most incisively, logically and effectively.

 

Yes, the Thais are as yet not showing any real willingness to 'hit the streets'. The numbers are still (to quote the article) 'tiny'. Maybe they will grow. I am sure they will. I have little doubt of that. BUT I also have little doubt that even the increased numbers will be woefully far away from the MILLIONS needed to effect change.

 

On the 'I am not a Thai, so cannot comment on Thai politics' point: this kind of statement always amazes me. Every human being has the right to comment on any country's politics - especially if a country is languishing under a dictatorship (I don't mean Thailand here - of course not!). Also, many Westerners work and pay taxes in Thailand - so they have every right to utter an opinion on the way the country is run - or run into the ground! 

 

Anyway, your post is impressively hard-hitting, indeed superb, Jayboy. It is one of the more powerful ones I've read in the last few months. I hope others on this thread enjoy it too (but I kind of pity the recipient of your verbal punches!).

 

 

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Yes foreigners do have the right to 'utter' their opinion on Thai affairs even if their opinion counts for zero. But since it means absolutely squat, I guess the only reason then is because they're in love with the sound of their own voice lol. Unless you can punch a ballot here I'm not impressed how much taxes you pay, you have no real say. You can bleat like a sheep about a 'dictatorship' but for what end? Because it makes you feel better? Perhaps you're living here in a private fantasy that what you think here is relevant to the outcome of Thai affairs. There's nothing wrong living in a pretend world and in fact judging on what I've read on TV over the years there are even folks you can share this fantasy with online. Its even been suggested here and in other threads that Thais should 'rise up' and 'take the streets' or as above, a quote from a dead American suggesting blood be shed for 'liberty' lol. Why don't all these 'patriotic' foreigners just rise up themselves against the army and show the Thais how to sacrifice their lives for the 'greater good'. LOL. If you guys are so itching to make a difference and leave your mark, why don't you go back to the country you were born in so that your vote and opinion actually mean something? I mean with how messed up some of biggest countries in world are right now (brexit/trump) don't you think they need some help from concerned citizens? There must be political volunteering needs not being met in your respective country, go back there and see if you can make a difference. Because the noise pollution you're generating in Thailand is just reinforcing that you're a legend, in your own mind. 

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Yes foreigners do have the right to 'utter' their opinion on Thai affairs even if their opinion counts for zero. But since it means absolutely squat, I guess the only reason then is because they're in love with the sound of their own voice lol. Unless you can punch a ballot here I'm not impressed how much taxes you pay, you have no real say. You can bleat like a sheep about a 'dictatorship' but for what end? Because it makes you feel better? Perhaps you're living here in a private fantasy that what you think here is relevant to the outcome of Thai affairs. There's nothing wrong living in a pretend world and in fact judging on what I've read on TV over the years there are even folks you can share this fantasy with online. Its even been suggested here and in other threads that Thais should 'rise up' and 'take the streets' or as above, a quote from a dead American suggesting blood be shed for 'liberty' lol. Why don't all these 'patriotic' foreigners just rise up themselves against the army and show the Thais how to sacrifice their lives for the 'greater good'. LOL. If you guys are so itching to make a difference and leave your mark, why don't you go back to the country you were born in so that your vote and opinion actually mean something? I mean with how messed up some of biggest countries in world are right now (brexit/trump) don't you think they need some help from concerned citizens? There must be political volunteering needs not being met in your respective country, go back there and see if you can make a difference. Because the noise pollution you're generating in Thailand is just reinforcing that you're a legend, in your own mind. 


You conflate two things which accounts for your muddled post.Firstly I don’t believe any foreigner is under the illusion that his opinion is going to change things.However it is certainly entirely natural that resident foreigners should have an opinion- except perhaps for barflies and the intellectually incurious.

Secondly although you do not make the case very well,I accept there is something a little “off” about foreigners with nothing to lose urging Thais on to the barricades.I try to avoid this.


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5 hours ago, robblok said:

Small difference though voted in crooks are marginally different. Too bad that the people don't realise that for Thailand to progress they need honest politicians not corrupt ones. 

 

Its always fun to see those in power act just like the previous mob in power. Always lying denying stalling and being incompetent and corrupt. I started hating the Shins because it was them who were in power when i first arrived here and saw all the corruption incompetence and lying. So i supported a coup as i thought it would help only to see the new mob being just as bad. 

 

There is no difference and depending on how long you have been here people will see they are all the same (unfortunately) with some extreme examples sticking out (Suthep, Charlem, Thaksin, Prawit, Prayut). None of these guys ever listens to others or admits any mistakes even when its clear for everyone to see.

I don't think it's a small difference...the difference is the freedom to choose.

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27 minutes ago, jayboy said:

 


You conflate two things which accounts for your muddled post.Firstly I don’t believe any foreigner is under the illusion that his opinion is going to change things.However it is certainly entirely natural that resident foreigners should have an opinion- except perhaps for barflies and the intellectually incurious.

Secondly although you do not make the case very well,I accept there is something a little “off” about foreigners with nothing to lose urging Thais on to the barricades.I try to avoid this.


Sent from my iPhone using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app

 

Everybody is entitled to an opinion on how Thais should live their lives. If it makes people feel better and soothes their ego to attempt to solve the problems of other nations then they should go for it. I do believe there are foreigners here that are under the illusion that they know better and could better Thai life for Thais, for I read it daily on TV. And although it may be natural for foreigners to opine on how messed up the country their living in is, it does get rather tedious. Especially from rock throwers in glass houses.  And I'm glad you think it's a little 'off' to promote riots, how 'western' of you. 

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I doubt very much whether there will be any mass demo's for a year or two..

 

The country is in suspended animation at the moment (coronation) and one or two possible long periods of mourning.

 

This is a transitional period-and then we will see where the power lies-or perhaps we won't,who can tell?

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34 minutes ago, from the home of CC said:

Everybody is entitled to an opinion on how Thais should live their lives. If it makes people feel better and soothes their ego to attempt to solve the problems of other nations then they should go for it. I do believe there are foreigners here that are under the illusion that they know better and could better Thai life for Thais, for I read it daily on TV. And although it may be natural for foreigners to opine on how messed up the country their living in is, it does get rather tedious. Especially from rock throwers in glass houses.  And I'm glad you think it's a little 'off' to promote riots, how 'western' of you. 

You simply ignore what has been said, and go onto repeat your own prejudices.No foreigner that I know of tells Thais how to live their lives - to deal with your most absurd claim. Nor do foreigners, even those with real Thai expertise, presume to tell Thais how to solve their problems. If you prefer to live in a state of pig ignorance, that is your prerogative but don't try and elevate your lack of interest/understanding into some kind of virtue. It isn't.

 

I do agree with you that humility is needed and we should be careful not to preach given developments in our own countries. But Thailand is in a bad way and many Thais struggling for a better political system appreciate foreign support. ( so do the dinosaurs - but that's another story.)

 

Many foreigners have no comprehension of Thailand's struggle for a better society and the sacrifices they have made. At a more basic level, well-disposed foreigners are greatly encouraged when progress is made in Thailand.

 

As the great poet, Wordsworth said at the time of the French Revolution which seemed to hold out liberty, equality and fraternity.

 

 

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!"
 
We are nowhere near that point in Thailand but my sympathies are with those who haven't given up on their hopes.
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8 hours ago, YetAnother said:

love the pinocchio but doubt he is smart enough to get it

I suppose it depends on whether there is anyone on his team bright enough to "get it", and with the balls to explain it to him!

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