- Posted December 8, 2013 by
Thailand: The March of December 9
On the eve of Monday, December 9th, the city of Bangkok and many urban provinces of Thailand went to rest more prepared than most nights.
Something unknown and unpredictable was brewing in the air.
The Security guards, policemen, hard core demonstrators and leaders of both the demonstration and the government side probably had a sleepless night, each for a different reason.
Mr Suthep, the leader of the demonstration called for a final peaceful march. All roads leading to the government house are expected to be full of people coming out for a walk in record numbers. For him, if the final attempt does not bring the government into good democratic sense, he will walk into jail.
The Prime Minister also made one major known attempt. The foreign minister “invited” foreign dignitaries to join the cabinet at the government house to “witness” how calm the government intend to handle troops of demonstrators. For some, it seemed a silly move. For others it showed an intention to hold ambassadors and other diplomats as hostage in the game. The invitation has been declined.
Throughout the weekend of December 7 - 8 the social network had been extremely busy with calls to show up for the final march. In Bangkok alone the response came from various sources ranging from groups from prestigious universities and schools, state enterprises union, groups of people from various districts in and around Bangkok. All felt that the coming event is “The March for the Future of Thailand.”
When asked why they are against the government and whether they will go for the march on Monday. Here are some answers.
“I hate Thaksin and the regime he generated. It brought the country, the morality and the decent value down hill. If left alone, we will never be able to recover from this bankrupted state of mind.” Answered one hard core opponent.
An artist posed in his facebook: “I heard how they slandered the King. It was so bad I decide to come out tomorrow.”
“High handed corruption must be stopped.” Said businessmen from anti-corruption group.
“My father saw cronyism first hand. No, his business was not affected, but he saw his business associates had problems because they were not in “their” circle. All export orders went only to their group.”
“The Prime Minister talked about women development fund, but I found out that to obtain the loan you must be a member of her political party. Her policy was very partial. It was not fair.” This opinion came from a worker from a province.
“I saw the democratic process being weakened into ineffectiveness. For me the process is very important because it is the foundation of a true democracy, not just having an election. I want to stop any one who violates such process.” A fund manager offered her reason.
The root cause of the problem in Thailand politics is attributed to one man, the former Prime Minister Thaksin who is the elder brother of the present Prime Minister. It went back to 1997.
“The Constitution of 1997 was a good one, and what happened? Somebody with money came in [in 2001] and, like a mouse, took away all the cheese. The goodness of the Constitution disappears and the people are upset. They protest. He refused to compromise.”
This was a comment of Professor Stephen Young of USA in 2009. He had spent his time in Thailand when his father was an ambassador to Thailand and later he himself was a scholar working in Thai rural area.
After a coup d’etat, there was a new constitution, the first one with a nationwide referendum. The former Prime Minister has been a fugitive but he wants to return with full power. Thailand had protest after protest. The one in 2010 went from protest to riot and many buildings were burnt down without any one being caught till now. That former Prime Minister kept lurking into the foreground to dictate his decision using the cabinets consisting of his former business executives and followers as well as his sister as proxies.
The present government has the majority vote in the last general election but “the government did not keep its social contract; the demonstration is to enforce the government to do so.” Commented a leading Thai political scientist, Dr. Kiean Dheravidhya. “The law keeper did not enforce legal action equitably. And in the latest count it violated both the content and the process of the constitution itself when it sought to amend the constitution.
All these actions on top of rumors and actual evidence of widespread corruption so far brought unprecedented number of people from all walks of life onto the streets during the past month.
A business person offered her alternative explanation. “In our political system, members of parliament vote on the party line always. So there is no independent vote. The parliament and the government are on the same side because the majority has the right to form a government. The judicial system is rumored to be partial in some cases. The police force is political officials. So the check and balance is missing. This kind of situation will not lead to stability and sound democratic system. In fact it will generate dictators.
I really want to learn where has democracy worked well without the strong voice of well informed citizens.
It must be noted that in Thailand at the present moment, the demonstrators who have taken to the streets are there to enforce the constitution while the government itself is the one who defied the constitution.
Will the call for a march on Monday December 9 draw an even larger scale of people?
What is the government action in response to the movement? So far the government has been quiet and offer a sense of reconciliation on the surface but there is an open call of a large number of volunteers to assist police force on duty.
Will the government wage war on its own people. Will it do so openly or under cover? Or the march ends peacefully. It will soon be seen.
Evening, December 8, 2013