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    Posted May 29, 2014 by
    SPSomtow
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Thai military declares coup

    More from SPSomtow

    Where's the Beef?

     

    The second week of the coup is dawning and we may finally have found the real answer to the question famously posed by Walter Mondale: “Where’s the beef?” Today the answer isn’t, as was previously thought, “in Wendy’s buns.” The beef is now to be found in McDonalds, which has suddenly become an icon for those who seek to protest the current military coup in Thailand.

     

    On Sunday, a small gaggle of protesters was broken up outside a McDonalds in downtown Bangkok. The story went viral and it became the height of radical chic to post a selfie eating in a McDonalds - or muzzled with duct tape in a McDonalds - to protest the military government’s somewhat heavy-handed attempts to mute opposition to its takeover.

     

    The US fast-food giant was swift to declare neutrality. According to today’s THE NATION newspaper, McDonalds declared: “We emphasise that we have no connection with such actions and we wish to clarify that McThai maintains and will continue maintaining a neutral position in the current political situation in Thailand.” It then threatened to take “appropriate measures” to prevent its logo and trademark from being hijacked as a political symbol.

     

    The junta made good on its promise to release most of its detainees, known in some circles as “guests”, from captivity. Suranand Vejjajiva, ex PM Yingluck’s general secretary, posted on his facebook page that he was fine after undergoing 6 nights and 7 days of confinement, and thanked all for their concern.

     

    Some UDD leaders who returned from their involuntary vacation described being blindfolded, taken to a house and told not to leave it, and just as arbitrarily taken back.

     

    Former education minister Chaturon was not quite so fortunate. As he didn’t attend the reeducation session voluntarily, he has been denied bail by the military tribunal, and will face various charges.

    Big Brother may soon be looking over everyone’s facebook page - the ICT announced they would be sending experts to Facebook’s regional HQ in Singapore to discuss ways of rendering subversive content inaccessible.  They don’t seem to have figured out that most ten-year-olds today can get through the average firewall without getting singed.

    Fumbling and ineffective though its attempts to control the media might be, the army at last announced a three-stage plan to an elective democracy.  It would start with the establishment of stability, followed by a from-the-ground-up reform, and finish with an election.  Colonel Sirichan, speaking on behalf of General Prayuth, gave no time frame, but did say there was a need for it to be done quickly.

    Insider sources are betting on “about two years” as the real time frame.

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