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Thailand: Rallies and Twitter updates

Categories: East Asia, Thailand, Breaking News, Governance, Law, Politics, Protest, Technology, War & Conflict

Thailand’s anti-government protesters have surrounded the Parliament building Monday morning. Led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the protesters want to oust the ruling government. The country’s seat of power has been temporarily moved to Don Mueang Airport.

PAD and its supporters have been protesting in the streets for several months [1] already. They accuse the present Prime Minister of being a puppet of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra. PAD is accused of having close ties with some sections of the elite and military. Its members are mostly from the middle class and residents of Bangkok City. Last October it gained public sympathy when the police forces used excessive force [2] to disperse the rallyists.

The Parliament siege is part of a plan by PAD to paralyze government operations. PAD’s campaign, described by many as its “Final Battle” [3], is to surround the Parliament, the temporary government seat at the airport, the Finance Ministry, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the Metropolitan Police Bureau, the National Police Office, and the residences of key cabinet members.


PAD rally
Photos courtesy of PAD’s Facts Info [3]

So far, PAD is unable to gather a substantial number of people in the streets. Its target is to mobilize 100,000 people [4] but this figure has not yet been reached. There are reports that PAD has been transporting protesters from the provinces [5].

Many Thais are already aware of PAD’s plans last weekend [6]. There are even rumors of coups and arming of civilians [7].

The country as a whole remains peaceful. The protests are not violent; although it was reported that some PAD members have hijacked buses to block streets.

Thailand’s Twitter users are also sending updates about the protests. They are also expressing their opinions about this political controversy.

Twitter user Kofty writes:

Tension [8] is high in Bangkok today. Thousands of people effectively blocked off parliament. They want the government gone by Wednesday.”

Excitement [9] builds as protester seize public buses to get to the old Don Mueang Airport, the temporary government headquarters. Shots fired.”

So far [10], the demonstration is peaceful. The Joint Session of parliament and Senate has been cancelled. Electricity to parliament gas been cut.”

AsianSweetheart [11] adds:

“Save the country: You probably read the news about the big march on parliament today by the PAD. ..”

Moui [12] underscores PAD’s financial problems:

“now the PAD is begging for meal.”

Smartbrain provides updates:

“mob: Chamlong [13] announced big push at 4 am tomorrow. Anyone who has cars should take them. Hmm… where? Airport?”

“mob: Sources [14] claim 700 riot police are being sent in to take care of the protesters at Don Muang.”

“Mob: Phase 2 [15] begins at 6 am. Bring as many cars as you have.”

Pittaya observes:

taxi driver [16] talks to me. it's battle between thaksin-sondhi. i don't think so.”

“will there be some tanks [17] today?”

Sugree reacts:

“well, it's easier to bomb parliament [18] and gov house to restart everything from the beginning”

“oops! migrate to don mueng [19]? god damn PAD is moving to somewhere near my office. Arghhh”

Photo courtesy of adaptorplug [20]

Moui.net seems disappointed [21] to what is happening to Thailand:

“Thailand is my home country, she used to be the place where i loved so much. after my graduation, i decided living in Thailand permanently. but after many political incidents in this decade, i am deeply upset. it is very hurt to see the other Thais have been ruining the country from time to time.

“i can’t see the future of Thailand. i do not know where the land of smile has gone. i do not know when every fighting will stop. i do not know how the broken society will be melted into one society again. what i really know is that i am no longer want to live here at this time. probably, it is time to leave.”

For more background information about PAD and the political crisis in Thailand, read Conflict of elites [22] and People’s coup or putsch [23].