2010 Thaksin's Terrorism
Militant Red Army
Epoch Times: Thai Democracy Threatened by Organized Subversion, on April 14, 2010
( Last edit 2010-04-17 )
Is a movement that wraps itself in the cause of democracy seeking to subvert democracy in Thailand?
Recent reports of armed violence suggest the National United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)—the party supported by the red-shirted rioters in Bangkok—may be involved in rebellion, not democratic protest.
On Saturday, April 10, the government vowed it would push the red-shirt protesters out of one of their two bases in Bangkok. In the clash that followed, 11 died and 500 were wounded. The protesters are reported to have resisted the government troops with deadly force.
A case in point is the death of Col. Romklao Thuwatham.
Deputy chief of staff of Thailand’s 2nd Infantry Division, Romklao was known to be an honest officer who had successfully led troops in putting down riots and restoring order this same time one year ago. It now appears he was assassinated.
According to the Bangkok-based newspaper The Nation, Pol. Maj. Gen. Disthaporn Sasamit, the spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Commanded (ISOC), said on Monday, “Either an active or a retired military officer identified Col. Romklao Thuwatham for a gunman to take him out with a M79 grenade.”
Disthaporn further stated that this attack was “planned by the other side”—meaning the rioters—and part of a “revenge.”
Other local media report that witnesses saw a light flare shoot up into the sky before the shot was fired at Romklao directly, killing him and injuring the other officers around him. Related Articles
Gunmen in Black
On April 10, armed men in black appeared on the scene of the red-shirt protests.
The front page of the April 12 edition of the Kom Chud Leuk newspaper has photos of men dressed in black carrying AK-47s and Tavor TAR-21s—a rifle that was used during the Cambodian-Thai standoff in 2008.
Inside on page 3, stills from a Channel 11 video clip of men dressed in all black are seen situated up in a building and behind poles firing at soldiers.
Local media report that witnesses near the red shirts saw a van pull up prior to the clash. A number of men dressed in all black came out of the van carrying weapons. When red-shirt protesters saw them, they are said to have cheered.
There are no reports of the government forces having used any weapons that could cause death. Reporters at the scene said a majority of the soldiers did not even have batons and were only armed with shields. Soldiers were reported to have used rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters.
Inciting Further Violence
The red shirts, these protesters who claim to be fighting for democracy, appear to have been created through cash payments and propaganda.
Rumors abound of protesters being paid to attend demonstrations. And the UDD leaders are said to have been paid millions and millions of baht by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
According to the rumors, if you look into the financials of the UDD leaders, an increase in wealth seems to go along with their support of Thaksin. People who once were in debt are no longer in debt.
Once people appear at UDD rallies, they are exposed to violent propaganda. Since April 10, UDD leaders tell those attending that the prime minister has murdered people. Two bodies were forcefully taken from a hospital and placed on stage as a prop and then the coffins paraded around Bangkok in an attempt to incite hatred toward the government.
The ground for this popular movement has been prepared by the People’s Channel TV station and community radio stations, which are constantly broadcasting to the rural people messages of hate toward the government.
For people who are uneducated, who are from the rural areas and live a simple life farming, it is easy for them to believe what is being said without questioning it.
A cable TV reporter asked a red-shirt protester who came from the northeast of Thailand why he was attending the rallies. The man answered because he wanted democracy. When the reporter asked what democracy is, the man couldn’t answer. He didn’t know what democracy is or what it entails.
Does Thailand have democracy? It does. But when people are not educated, and their hearts and votes are easily bought, then democracy itself is not being attained.
Giving Democracy a Chance
Since the events of April 10, top Thai scholars and academics have come forward to point out that the actions by the red-shirt protesters are not aligned with people seeking democracy. Rather, they are the actions of those involved in rebellion.
Prime Minister Abhisit is a man well-suited to function within a Western-style democracy. Unfortunately, his character and education have so far not suited him to deal with the reality of Thailand today.
Thailand is still a developing country, and corruption permeates all levels of society. For the past year, media controlled by the UDD have filled the people’s minds with propaganda that teaches them to hate Abhisit and the government.
Abhisit has been too slow to respond, and now there has been a deadly battle on the streets of Bangkok.
Abhisit has clearly been restrained precisely because he believes in democracy. Perhaps he has sought to govern a country too prone to corruption as though it already had the levels of education and the moral constitution of the successful Western democracies.
The pity is that the red shirts, deluded by their UDD leaders, cannot recognize that the key to the democracy in Thailand that they say they want stands before them in the person of the peaceful and honorable Abhisit.
The article was writen by Puan Khon Thai who is a writer living in Thailand and wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons.
More of messages from PM Abhisit's Government and Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation