PM Abhisit Vejjajiva's Announcement April 9, 2009
( Last edit 2009-04-11 )
At 21:20 on April 9, 2009, Abhisit Vejjajiva addressed the public live on TV as follows."
"Dear all respected brother and sister citizens, on Monday I made a public announcement to you that the government had evaluated the situations and prepared for a major rally which was declared to start on April 8. Today, I would ask you a little bit of time to bring your attention to the situation, the reasons, the government stance and the handling of the situation in order that brother and sister citizens would understand and rest assured that the government is applying various measures."
"I would like to tell you that on April 8, following a mass rally, there were a lot of brother and sister citizens joining the rally, estimated to be about 100,000. I have stressed all along that the demonstrators can exercise the freedom within the limits as stipulated by the constitution and the laws. I consider that a lot of people have demands or reasons to demonstrate in which democratic-wise I support. However, after the rally has started, there come three ultimatums with a deadline at 16:00 today. I wish to say that the three ultimatums are very confusing and do not lead to democracy or the reform of politics and administration as declared."
"For example, the first ultimatum for the President of the Privy Council and the Councilors (to resign), I stress again, is inappropriate. It is leading to spread the political conflicts to involve the establishment which politically is neutral. These are attempts to affect the national security."
"As for the second ultimatum which involves me, I would like to reiterate to brother and sister citizens that I would make the decision based upon the benefits of the people and the country. In fact, before this, there was a demand for me to dissolve the parliament in which I had explained and also to foreign media that the dissolution of the parliament is a possible decision of the Prime Minister in the parliamentary system. Nevertheless, dissolution of the parliament in the situation like this is not appropriate because apparently it would not lead to a fair democratic election since there are still a lot of people campaigning to obstruct fair political movements particularly with violent threats against political parties which have different ideologies."
"Brother and sister citizens please imagine, if we dissolve the parliament in this atmosphere of such movements, the image to the world would not be a democratic move. Instead, it is anarchy and non democratic because threats which violate on the rights against the movement of parties which do not agree with them are obviously contradictory to democratic principles. One way or another, if the violence occurs during the election period, it would severely damage the democratic image because so far we have never had election amidst violence. I presume brother and sister citizens would be able to imagine that when there is a general election with violence in any country, we would feel that the democracy in the country has problem."
"Therefore, I have stressed all along that, political-wise or democracy development wise, the dissolution of the parliament would not be appropriate at this moment. I wish to see stability, respects to others' rights and freedom, without mixture of violence. Then, I would consider whether or not the dissolution of the parliament would be appropriate."
"More importantly, Thailand is in the time for solving her people's crucial problems and her duty as the president of ASEAN. The obviously well-progressing solving of the economic problems as well as the summit meeting of the ASEAN's leaders plus interlocutor nations which is taking place in the next three days, are all reinforcing the confidence and important measures for the country to progress. If there is a dissolution of the parliament, all of these will have to stop."
"Next, after I have made clear as such, the demonstrators have changed their ultimatum for me to resign. I wish to tell brother and sister citizens that this demand is also very confusing because if I actually decide to resign, what would happen is the House of Parliament would have to call a meeting to elect the new Prime Minister. Today, the government coalition parties confirm to remain working together. If I resign and the coalition parties decide to continue to work together and I am chosen back, then we would come back to square one. Therefore, I would like to say that both the ultimatums to the Privy Councilors and me do not have anything to do with quest for more perfect democracy at all."
"I can justify listening only to the demand number 3 only. The wish to see democracy continue to evolve, which now there is nothing better than the House of Parliament open widely for all groups to join the political reform in order to improve the rules, the constitution, the laws to be more democratic. If it goes along that, we would be able to appropriately consider what my decision for the benefit of the public should be."
"I believe my brother and sister citizens are now understanding that the integration of the farily reasonable demand number 3 which is without practical detail with number 1 and 2, is rather only an attempt to create political confusion. Then, next thing is the deadline drawn without clear reasons why it has to be today."
"However, after the rally passed into April 8, when the overall situation had been peaceful, today about 70 per cent of the demonstrators have decided to return home because, I believe, those people intend to express their demand for democracy. Therefore, what happens today is the remaining 30 per cent of April 8 demonstrators have obviously changed the way they rally. Today after 4pm, the announcement on the stage, the stated demands have become illegal and have become denials of the government. It is absurd because this government has come from the same path or the same constitution as previous governments which the demonstrators have never cast doubts on their righteousness. Instead, there are now campaigns for brother and sister cititzens to join the movements to violate the laws by claiming that it is not necessary to respect the laws because there is no government. This is the demand which is absurd because they remain calling for my resignation which means they still admit my Prime Minister status."
"Dear brother and sister citizens, a lot of people do not agree with this course of action, even the people who have decided to return home, I am confident that they do not agree with it since it may predicate that our country does not need the laws. As for their accusations against the government which duely and legitimately comes from the constitution, which has governed with a democratic heart and soul, which has not repressed the rights and freedom, which has not dispute with brother and sister citizens and which has never enforced violence against brother and sister citizens, still the rally insists on the demands to cause turmoils in the country."
"Therefore, the acts of the demonstrators from the afternoon onward, have been illegal and caused troubles to brother and sister citizens. The obstruction of the roads at various important sites causes severe traffic problems and a lot of public sufferings. This, I would say no fighter for democracy would support. This kind of behaviours is an act of people who do not believe in democracy which has to lean on the rule of law and the respect of others' rights and freedom."
"The government has to apologize for any inconvenience and troubles for a lot of people. We understand the feelings of brother and sister citizens who may feel bothered, annoyed or exasperated with the situation. I would like to say that the government also perceive the purpose of the rest of the demonstrators which is to provoke a confrontation and violence with an expectation of a disturbed situation which would lead to a temptation for the people to fall into a mass riot."
"Another important goal is to stop the country from proceeding as the president of ASEAN who have invited other national leaders to the meeting which would benefit not only Thais but also our neighbour countries as well as other important interlocutor nations of ASEAN. You will notice that some core leaders have tried it before by calling for several national leaders to abstain from coming to this ASEAN meeting. However, it was unsuccessful because other ASEAN nations and the interlocutor nations realize the current status of the Thai government and accept the government's work. They are ready to join to solve the problems."
"Therefore, the principles which I have told brother and sister citizens since last Monday, that we will not use violence and will enforce the laws, still remain our course. Nevertheless, we just would not hastily proceed into the pitfall of the conspirators who expect spread of turmoils to affect the greater national benefits. As a result, I confirm that the enforcement of the laws will certainly happen and is starting right now. Since the government is starting the enforcement of the laws, I would like to tell brother and sister citizens who have been persuaded to join the rally and violate the laws, that please carefully reconsider and make the right decision to stand for the national benefits, the majority of the people, the righteousness, the stability and the security of our society and the country. Please refrain from those acts because the government must enforce the laws. At this moment, we are proceeding in some areas which we see that it would not cause side effects and would not lead to excuses for violence and perpetuation of turmoils."
"Dear brother and sister citizens, last Monday I told you that the working targets of the government are clear. First, prevention of state offices from being trespassed. This, so far, has been O.K. Second, the traffic which I have warned that we need to take care because we know that there are some demonstrators conspired to do what is going on right now. We have some back-up plans and will apply. I will inform you later about the government's actions and decisions and how effective it would be carried out."
"First, from the current troubles, I wish to separate people who come to join for democracy, people who come because of being misled to commit such things without knowing that they are illegal. We have to separate such people. Tell them to quit from all such crimes. Then, there would be only the organizers which we consider them clearly intentional criminals for national security and subjected to proceedings. Photos, videos, sounds have been recorded. Including license plates and people all of which will be considered for prosecution and sentencing. This is to make us conveniently carry out the tasks while brother and sister citizens would fairly comfortably continue daily lives."
"Dear brother and sister citizens, I have consulted my cabinet and we agree that tomorrow (Friday April 10) should be declared an official holiday. This to a certain limit would help relieving the suffering of brother and sister citizens from traffic problems and would facilitate officers' execution of the duties to differentiate groups of people in various illegal sites. This announcement is to clarify that the government has not ignored but is planning careful courses of action."
"Second, to enable easy access to the news of the situations in detail, I have asked channel 11 TV to continuously report the news of the incidences to the public straight forward as they happen. If there is no special news, the programmes would be regular as usual. With transparency, brother and sister citizens would see whether or not, who and what would go on as declared, as claimed to hold democratic principles. It is also opportunities for brother and sister citizens to see whether officers would operate with respects to the principles of human rights and how the law enforcement can be strictly applied. It would help brother and sister citizens to better understand the situations."
"Also, as for the traffic and the messages to be informed to the public all the time, which areas to be avoided or which routes to be used as alternative may also be continuously carried out. Apart from TV channel 11, I would like to ask for cooperation from all TV channels to help me broadcast the messages which would be beneficial and most convenient to ordinary daily lives of brother and sister citizens."
"As for the assessment and the monitoring of the situations, although the government have tried to avoid confrontations and violence, there is an estimation that some demonstrators may increase the level of violence of the rally. I had meetings with all security authorities to assign the officers of the police force, the military, and local authorities, i.e., municipality polices to secure all public areas to prevent any mishaps at their best."
"As for the state offices, I consider each site is under the responsibility of the chief of the state office to look after. In the next 24-48 hours, to all private businesses, I would like to ask the owners to help the government to look around and keep a watchful eye as well as to step up the security. I would like also to take this opportunity to ask all brother and sister citizens to keep a watchful eye looking around and be informants to the officers to prevent any incidences. These measures will start from this second onward because we believe that when we have clearly differentiated between the innocent demonstrators who do not want to see violence and do not want to commit crimes from people who have other intentions, we are confident that the government will be able to enforce the laws and return to normal situation within a reasonable time and the government will be able to successfully carry out the administration and host the summit meeting of the ASEAN and the interlocutor at Pattaya. As for Pattaya, there is an increase in measures to reassure every nation's leader who now confirms to join our meeting. I stress again that I invite all brother and sister citizens to kindly host this important meeting."
"Dear brother and sister citizens, what the government is doing now are not for my personal benefits or for the cabinet or the security officers or the government. It is for the benefits of brother and sister citizens and for the righteousness and long term sustainable system. I assure that this decision would lead to a long term problems solving. I realize that a lot of brother and sister citizens are not happy with the incidences but I insist that the government has not ignored and will take the responsibility. I would like to ask brother and sister citizens to join the government in using patience, peace, cautiousness, and concsciousness to win for all Thais, the establishment, and for the country. I am confident that along this course, it is not going to be too long to bring peace to the country. It will lead to peace without a lost. Me, the cabinet, and all security officers are dedicated to the work all the time to make sure as such."
"I would like to thank a lot of brother and sister citizens who understand what the government is doing and we shall try all measures to rectify the situatiation to normal as soon as possible to avoid side effects to the important event and more important benefit of the public, of everyone of us. I ask once more for brother and sister citizens' cooperation. I am ready to clarify everything on the ground of transparency, righteousness and reasoning. I insist that I will never put my personal benefits above the public benefits of brother and sister citizens. Thank you."