Roman Sturgis Take care of each other and make good decisions.

August 31, 2008

Update on demonstrations in Thailand

Filed under: Blog — Roman @ 4:25 am

La and I have been hunkering down for the weekend after our “wedding” night, checking in with the news every few hours for updates on the situation in Bangkok. Though I’m sure it’s much more nuanced than this, my take on the matter is the following:

There are some Thais who are pissed that the current PM is now seeking amnesty in the UK after fleeing corruption charges post-Olympics, for which he was granted special permission to attend. This group seems to want a return to the 2006 coup status quo; they’re also calling for a new government that is 70% appointed and 30% elected.

There is another group of Thais that are pro-government and want to see democracy take its course through elections and referendums, but the group that is sitting in on Government House grounds (the Thai version of the US capital building in DC) seem to want immediate change and are not so patient.

All of this is underscored by a sense of tension surrounding the much beloved (and aging) king who, legally, is a monarch in name only, but who still holds the hearts of the people, the loyalty of the military, and the ear of any politician worth his salt.

My take on the matter is that the folks demonstrating at Government House are working to install a more favorable government to their liking before nature takes its course with the 84 year old king.

It’s an exciting development to be watching, though I can’t really say we’re a part of it. Chiang Mai is eleven hours by bus from Bangkok and unless there is a coup, we’ll see little action up here. Last time there was a coup, in 2006, the consequence in CM was a few tanks running down important streets to be a presence. So I am told by folks who were here.

La and I have no worries about this at all. So far there have been minor skirmishes in Bangkok and nothing in CM. If it does escalate, which it seems it must before a resolution has been agreed on, the action will center on Bangkok.

Here are links to the national papers if you’re interested: The Nation and The Post

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