Thai crisis: Things are spinning out of control — Am I the only one getting the feeling that things are spinning out of control here? As both sides get increasingly rigid, even the normally soft-spoken and mild-mannered caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra is sounding more and more like her brother.
Perhaps it’s from being surrounded by hardliners like Chalerm Yubamrung, head of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) and Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.
Now some 1,000 angry rice farmers are reportedly headed to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport in a convoy, which of course conjures up images of the yellow-shirt takeover of the airport in late 2008, which only ended when a court ruling ousted the government and prime minister – referred to as a “judicial coup” by red-shirts today.
Tuesday’s deadly clashes between police and protesters that led to five deaths and over 70 injured as authorities tried to seize several rally sites was almost an exact copy of what happened in April 2010, only the roles were reversed.
Back then, as the military tried to disperse red-shirt protesters and retake areas around Democracy Monument, “men in black” suddenly and unexpectedly attacked soldiers with weapons of war – grenades and AK-47s.
And don’t forget, the soldiers that died from that attack were the very first deaths resulting from the 2010 protests, which would end with some 90 people killed.
The military is these days often criticized for the eventual crackdown after two months of restraint and allowing the red-shirts to break laws, set up a state-within-a-state in the heart of Bangkok, and run amok all over the city – with large numbers of city residents demanding the government do something to stop them.
This past Tuesday an unidentified “third hand” attacked riot police, and the blame game has begun.
Suthep Thaugsuban blames the police for using weapons to attack protesters.
The government denies it, and blames protest leaders for allowing armed elements to mingle among demonstrators.
Protest leaders repeatedly claim protesters are unarmed and peaceful. The red-shirts did the same in 2010.
Oddly enough, no one ever seems to have a clue as to who the so-called “men-in-black” or “third hand” elements are.
Added to this spectacle is the rice scheme scandal, with both sides accusing the other for injustices being suffered by those poor farmers.
Yingluck is being charged for corruption, yet she went on national TV and defended the programme, accusing the anti-government movement of using the farmers as part of their “political game”.
Protesters went hysterical when the Government Savings Bank (GSB) issued a loan that was alleged to be intended to help the government pay off some of the money owed the suffering farmers, rushing to the GSB and withdrawing massive amounts of money.
And on and on and on it goes. Stay tuned, the drama continues..