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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

While Waiting for the Verdict

This piece of Bangkok Post posed an interesting question.

A nation endangered? Or manipulated?

By Naowarat Suksamran

Security authorities have boasted so much about how they intend to handle mass rallies that many imagine the country is on the brink of disintegration. But reporters can find no one who is organising or gathering for protest.

Some now ask whether those in charge of national security have manipulated information.

With the Constitution Tribunal to make its long-awaited rulings in the party dissolution cases today, many have the impression that the country is sinking even deeper into political turmoil.

Such feelings seem to be built on information leaked from security authorities in the military-installed government and the Council for National Security (CNS).

These authorities have been telling reporters how they plan to handle mass rallies anticipated in response to today’s verdicts.

The full-scale preparation on the part of security authorities makes many imagine the country is on the brink of disintegration.

Nonetheless, when reporters asked leaders of political groups expected to launch rallies, and other political campaigners, their replies gave the opposite impression. All of them insisted they will stay home to watch the verdict on television and they will persuade their supporters to do the same.

Some have begun to ask whether the public has fallen prey to information manipulation by those in charge of national security.

In the past week, the political situation has been relatively stable.

However, the security authorities and those likely to be affected by today’s ruling seem to have engaged in a psychological battle which has also worsened the atmosphere for reconciliation.

Security authorities told reporters they have adjusted security plans to cover wider areas around Bangkok, rather than focusing on city landmarks.

Military and police officers were assigned to closely monitor people in their jurisdictions and prevent them converging on the capital.

The authorities also released reports that they have set up countless road checkpoints throughout the country and that military officers have undergone crowd dispersal training.

Police said they are equipped with tear gas and pepper sprays.

Key members of the CNS also gave interviews saying they may have to declare a state of emergency as it might not be able to control the situation.

They also released reports that deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra allegedly tried to sneak back into Thailand through either the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Rai province or the Thai-Cambodian border in Trat.

Closer to the day of the ruling came more unverified news and rumours about Mr Thaksin and his supporters whipping up political undercurrents.

Acting Thai Rak Thai party leader Chaturon Chaisaeng affirmed that his party will accept the tribunal’s verdict and has no plan to hold a rally.

Those in power were trying to make news that frightened the public, he said. They had also hired various groups of people to commit crimes and slandered the old power clique as being responsible for those crimes.

Mr Chaturon called for security authorities to stop frightening the people and scrap their plan to enforce the emergency decree in Bangkok.

However, on the other side of the fence, the anti-government and anti-coup groups have not sat still.

The Saturday Voice Against Dictatorship group earlier announced a plan to hold a mass rally today, and said it would distribute 200,000 Jatukarm Ramathep amulets to participants.

Executives of the banned People’s Television satellite station said they would hold a rally tomorrow.

However, observers viewed the two groups’ rallies as part of their regular political activities, and nothing more special than their earlier protests.

The only one seemingly unmoved by all news reports and pressure from political groups is Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.

He insisted that the Constitution Tribunal’s verdicts will be the end of the fraud cases related to last year’s April 2 election.

He said he was confident that most Thais understood the country’s situation well, and that a nation could not exist if its people do not abide by the rule of law

The same reporter also asked in ARE WE REALLY ON THE BRINK OF CHAOS?

Some have begun to ask whether the public has fallen prey to information manipulation by those in charge of national security.

In the past week, the political situation has been relatively stable.

However, the security authorities and those likely to be affected by today’s ruling seem to have engaged in a psychological battle which has also worsened the atmosphere for reconciliation.

Security authorities told reporters they have adjusted security plans to cover wider areas around Bangkok, rather than focusing on city landmarks.

Wasn’t the speculation of mass protest as chaos one among ‘legitimate’ reasons to intervene by a coup last September? There were two confronting protest in Chatuchak park and the other at Sanam Lunag and Ratchadamneon Ave. But all was relatively peaceful, despite one camp of protest actually called for military intervention. Protest management was not preventing people to protest. All intelligence report about ‘red shirt mob’ to Bangkok, even it will happen, could not shake the verdict. They could not do anything but protest. Judicial ruling is not supposed to change becasue of mobsters.

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Filed under: Political Sciences

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