Sunday, May 16, 2010

Holidays, Embassy Closing and a Bit of a Rant

Thailand has delayed the start of at least some schools for ten days due to the protests.  The PM declared Monday and Tuesday national holidays in order to keep people away from the protest site.  The U.S Embassy will also be closed on Monday and Tuesday, and it has authorized family members of Embassy staff to leave Thailand if they wish. 

The protesters and some "human rights groups" have called on the U.N. to intervene to ensure the safety of the protesters.  I agree with the government that this is an internal Thai affair, and participation from a foreign government or the U.N. would not be helpful. 

Its still amazing to me that they allow the protests to last so long here.  Can you imagine, for example, a group of twenty thousand Tea Party members occupying Times Square for two months, shutting down commerce in the area, and refusing to disperse?  I am not against the Tea Party, but if they conducted an unlawful protest and were ordered to stop, I would definitely support the use of force restore law and order. 

The protests are unlawful and should be ended.  The red shirts claim that this was about democracy was exposed as a lie when they refused to disperse after the PM offered elections in November.  This would have required him to dissolve the Parliament in September, leaving the government in power for only another four months.  They had achieved more of a victory than I thought they would have.  Truthfully, I thought that the army would have cracked down on them much earlier and much harder. 

The problem is that while new elections gave the red shirts the chance to recapture a majority in government, it did not give the man that many believe is funding this entire protest what he wanted.  For the former Prime Minister in exile, four more months of the current government is a huge problem.  During this time, the government could bring additional civil and criminal charges against him.  The verdict that allowed the government to seize almost a billion and a half dollars from him also exposed him to further potential criminal and civil sanctions.  The current government has been more than willing to pursue these charges.  If the government were immediately dissolved and a more friendly red shirt government elected, many of the former PM's problems would go away. 

I'm sure some of the red shirt leaders are also worried about their own legal status.  They violated the law by unlawfully gathering.  Yesterday twenty-seven red shirts were sentenced to six months in jail for violating the emergency decree and gathering at Ratchaprasong. 

Still, the red shirt followers seem to love the former PM.  Its like they are the plain looking girl, and he is that first guy who kissed her and told her that he loved her.  It doesn't matter that he uses her, cheats on her, and always leaves her to suffer for his mistakes, she still loves him.    

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