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The Protesters encampment stretched over a 6 block long swath in central Bangkok held another rally last night demanding that the Prime Minister and her party give up power. Charismatic protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban spoke from atop Bangkok's Democracy Monument in the center for well over an hour, as dozens of big screen TVs scattered around the area carried his words and image to every part of the sprawling protest site.

The Democracy monument as Suthep Thaugsuban spoke.

A protester's car damaged during the previous police violence when protesters' barricades were removed from the area.

Free food was being given out to protesters along the edges of the protest site in several locations.

A protester with his sign (please excuse the finger in this shot).

A painting of  Suthep Thaugsuban leading the protest.

Protesters getting free Thai foot massage.  

Even a pet monkey came out to protest.

Despite Protests, Thailand Says February Vote Will Go Ahead


Protesters, who say they are fighting to eradicate corruption and banish Ms. Yingluck and her clan from the country, have blocked candidate registration sites over the past week and clashed violently with the police, leaving two people dead. The protesters, who on some days have numbered well over 100,000 people, also say they are planning to “shut down” Bangkok this month by cutting power to government buildings and blocking major intersections.

Before Friday’s announcement, at least one member of the Election Commission seemed sympathetic to the protesters’ demands and was urging a delay in the election. But the commission’s secretary general, Phuchong Nutawong, was unequivocal on Friday in saying that the election would take place as scheduled on Feb. 2 because “it is the law.”

“We will hold elections,” he said. “We can confirm this to you.”

The protesters, who began their demonstrations two months ago, have been assisted by members of the Democrat Party, the country’s oldest political party, which announced last month that it would boycott the elections. Candidate registration has proceeded smoothly in the whole country except for one area of Bangkok and in southern Thailand, the stronghold of the Democrat Party.

The protesters’ rationale for blocking the elections is that the family of Ms. Yingluck has done so much damage to the country that her party’s re-election — seemingly certain if elections go ahead — would be “a return to the same corruption,” in the words of the protest leader, Suthep Thaugsuban.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This protest reminds me of OWS in many ways (12+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:10:21 PM PST

  •  How does this protest remind you of OWS? (3+ / 0-)

    If another election won't work?  What will?

    •  Some countries cannot fix themselves (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler, Glen The Plumber

      democratically.  Military coups have worked in the past.  I'm not saying I know that answer for sure but I did live in Bangkok for 15 years.  In this case an election will not solve the problem IMHO.  Rural population has been bought/bribed and/or catered to and urban educated don't want Thaksin to run the country or given amnesty for his errant ways in the past.  Very complicated situation.  

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

      by John Crapper on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:31:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The long term tent encampment feels to me a (4+ / 0-)

      like OWS in some ways. Their political tactic of opposing an election in resistance to an entrenched elite that is very corrupt, and self dealing, has a similar feel to me as a former occupier who lived part time in a tent for months.  

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:44:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The politics of Thailand are nothing like ours. (4+ / 0-)

        This government was democratically elected.  They have set a date for new elections.  They have also enacted policies that favor the poor.  

        These protesters don't want a democratically elected government.

        Is this administration corrupt?  I would say yes.

        Was the previous administration?  I would say yes.

        Thailand has a history of military coups.  I hope to see a more peaceful process.  

        However, a couple days after Christmas, Thailand's army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha would not say that a military coup was out of the question.

      •  These protestors are the urban elite. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpecialKinFlag, Glen The Plumber

        They resent that fact that this government has popular support. And they don't want democracy with free and fair elections. Because every time that happens, the political party supported by this largely rural red shirt movements wins.

        Listen to the leaders. They aren't calling for elections. They want an unelected people's council to rule the country because they keep losing at the ballot box.

        Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

        by psychodrew on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:03:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The politics of Thailand are very (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber

          complicated.  The rural support the current government but that roots of that government are firmly in the corrupt 1% faction.  The educated elite know this.  

          If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

          by John Crapper on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:12:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm well aware (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            that the politics of Thailand are complicated. I was in China during the 2006 coup that overthrew Thaksin. I've been to Thailand twice, and I have been following this story closely for years.

            The Thaksin family is extremely wealthy and they and their political allies are probably corrupt. Of course, they've only been tried in a court of law by the very people who've illegally thrown them out of office, disbanded their political party, and shot and killed their supporters in the streets of Bangkok. But the movement they've started has REPEATEDLY won democratic elections over the objection of Thai urban elite.

            I encountered this attitude about the "educated elite" in China and Taiwan, as well as Thailand. There is this idea that the peasants don't know what is good for them. They aren't intelligent enough to vote. They are too easily manipulated. It's disgusting.

            Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

            by psychodrew on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 05:10:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  To be fair they demand reforms before elections (0+ / 0-)

          "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

          by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 01:15:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for on the scene photos. (3+ / 0-)

    I lived in Bangkok for about 15 years.  I hope they find their way through this in a peaceful fashion.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:27:49 PM PST

  •  The Democracy Party at the Democracy monument (3+ / 0-)

    hates Democracy because the Thaskin folks "bribed" people with things like universal health care and rice subsidies.

    Too funny.

    Oh, and when a bunch of rich people demonstrate to reverse a landslide election they are compared to OWS, It's as if the bankers occupied Wall Street.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:47:43 PM PST

  •  History Matters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    His orders to the military resulted in the deaths of Red-Sirts protesting the administration he worked for.

    Ex-Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban have been indicted for murder for their role in street clashes that erupted in the capital Bangkok three years ago, reports the Bangkok Post.

    Read more: Abhisit On Murder Charge |

  •  I currently reside in Thailand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psychodrew, SpecialKinFlag

    and the situation here on the ground is just as tense and confusing as it appears from the outside.

    Suthep wants to cancel elections, have the current elected government resign en masse, and appoint an unelected "people's council" to run the country. No real surprise there, as there appear to be no prospects whatsoever for electoral victory by his side in the near future.  Like to take a guess as to the composition of the proposed "people's council?"

    In furtherance of his goal, he has plans to "shut down Bangkok" with mass protests on 13 January, which is somewhat puzzling as his side draws it support from the Bangkok area, primarily from the business community and those who are more educated than their rural brethren and sisters. The business community in Bangkok is already up in arms over the proposal, and it will likely cost Suthep some support from amongst those folks.

    Corruption is endemic here, from the cops on the street to the highest levels of government, and it will not matter one iota to the ordinary Thai which side is in power.  

    The only difference will be which side is feeding at the trough.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 02:04:05 AM PST

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