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Thai PM to chair National Security Council meeting today following protest violence

Maya Taylor

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Thai PM to chair National Security Council meeting today following protest violence | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, is set to chair a meeting of the National Security Council today, following violent clashes between police and pro-democracy activists at the weekend. The police have been sharply criticised by academics and protesters, after water cannon, tear gas, and rubber bullets were used against protesters in the capital on Saturday.

According to media reports, the pro-democracy activists were attempting to force their way through a barricade of cargo containers at Sanam Luang, in order to reach the Grand Palace. At least 33 people were injured in the subsequent melee, including a number of police officers and journalists. 20 people have been arrested and face charges of lèse majesté and violating the current ban on mass gatherings.

Thai PBS World reports that as activists were dispersing, some began to run riot along Ratchadamnoen Avenue, destroying portraits of His Majesty the King and damaging potted plants along the route.

Meanwhile, Ekkachai Srivilas from the King Prajadhipok Institute is calling for dialogue between the opposing groups, urging the Reconciliation Committee to focus more on talks instead of carrying out studies and filing reports. The Reconciliation Committee is an initiative created by the government late last year, but activists and government critics have refused to take part, saying the committee is merely an attempt to keep the current administration in power.

Gothom Arya from the Peace Study and Development Centre of Mahidol University is also urging all sides to resolve the conflict through dialogue and peaceful means. He has criticised the use of force by police officers, while also calling on protesters to refrain from the practice of holding leaderless rallies, which he says can lead to injuries or even deaths.

The call for peace talks is echoed by fellow academic, Padtheera Narkurairattana, from Mahidol University’s Human Rights and Peace Study Institute. She says the use of weapons to resolve political disputes will only create more devastation and is calling on the government to listen to the people and resolve the political impasse through dialogue.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    A general election might solve matters, but that will not be allowed, not a fair one anyway.

  2. Avatar

    Roger Bruce

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Who will wipe that arrogant smirk off the face of that swine

    I live for the day they all go down and in time they will

    Good Luck Thailand

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    How could a general election be justified before it’s due, Toby, just as a question of principle?

    There are only a few hundred protesters in Bangkok, with no protests or even signs of protests in the provinces anywhere.

    That’s not to support the current regime, but it would be absurd if all it took to make ANY government resign was a few hundred stone throwing yobs who have no political mandate or even political demands beyond the government’s resignation.

  4. Avatar

    Political Observer

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Dear Leader is nervous about his “job”. He wants to keep it.

  5. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, March 22, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Well John when it is due it will solve matters.
    I am sure that there is a silent majority that wants rid of the clown and his henchmen,
    If I am wrong and he has the support, he will keep power.
    I would bet money he would be voted out and have to flee the country. as all the the other scum Thai leaders have. With his looted bribes and profits of his corrupt administration.
    He even lives rent free in a military house which he is not entitled to . . .

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded

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Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: VIP clubs and their wealthy customers may have violated rules and led to Covid-19 outbreaks

Investigations are being demanded by a corruption watchdog into Thai politicians infected with Covid-19 after allegedly attending venues in the Thong Lor entertainment venues in Bangkok that have now emerged as the ground zero for the Coronavirus third wave in the Kingdom.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand are being asked to investigate the latest Covid-19 outbreak, noting in a Facebook post that the second wave was also linked to illegal activities, spreading through illegal migrants and other visiting gambling dens. This third wave is also angering those who see the wealthy elite and powerful politicians frequenting high-end bars and not following Covid-19 safety protocols.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of ACT argues that the ministers visiting these clubs did not behave “ethically”, and it’s part of a larger problem. He is pushing for legal action against not only club owners, but against police, public health officials, and even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for failing to enforce laws to protect against Covid-19.

Investigations into whether the code of ethics had been violated were requested to be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman and the committee on ethical standards.

As entertainment venues have been ordered closed for at least 2 weeks, Mana proposes that along with restrictions, a hotline to report rule-breakers should be set up, and all people should be held to the same standard without exception.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society agreed, saying that especially important is the need for Covid-19 infected public officials to disclose their personal timelines to reassure the public and assist in contract tracing. It is feared that little or no action will be taken to investigate and punish powerful rulebreakers.

One controversial infection was that of Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, rumoured to be infected from Thong Lor nightclubs, but later shown to be in another province at the time. The entertainment venue outbreak was not completely innocent though, as details emerged that the minister’s infection was in fact passed to him via an aide who had frequented clubs in Thong Lor.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour owner turned activist, has been outspoken on the issue, calling for investigations into high-society VIP clubs like Krystal Club and Emerald Club, who allegedly flaunted restrictions and ended up with dozens of Covid-19 infected staff members.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau chief had said that legal action was pending against these clubs for the virus spreading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Protests

Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests

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Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests | Thaiger
PHOTO: Demonstration attendance has been falling in the face of Covid-19, coups and crackdowns.

While protesters against the Thai government are continuing as they have for endless months, attendance is lessening in the face of crackdowns, coups and Covid-19. The throngs of 10,000 plus protesters, mostly energetic youth, that waved The Hunger Games 3 finger salute and demanded change in Thailand last summer have thinned to a few thousand or less these days.

The government isn’t in the clear yet though, as the protester’s calls to replace the current government, lessen the power of the Thai monarchy, and draw up a new constitution are still popular ideas. But a number of factors are causing protester size and vigour to wane.

The second wave of Covid in December quickly curbed the daily demonstrations for fear of spreading the virus. After that, the coup in Myanmar on February 1 has brought massive protests with international attention shifting to the growing humanitarian crisis just across the border. On top of the pandemic and the Burmese coup, the Thai government has taken a much more hardline approach to protesters in recent months.

Police began fighting back against mass demonstrations, dispersing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And after 2 years of leniency, the government has begun prosecuting people under the strict lèse-majesté laws, where offending the monarchy can carry harsh punishment including a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Anon Nampa, a human-rights lawyer, and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a student activist, have already been arrested under this law and held without bail. Arrests like these have been demoralising for the pro-democracy movement, and have scared away a lot of Thai protesters. Many have shifted focus to more immediate efforts to demand the release of the detained protest leaders.

Even with the crowds shrinking, the protests have already brought about change, bringing once unspeakable conversations into the national conversation, and keeping pressure on Thailand’s leaders. Opposition is growing, with efforts to push no-confidence votes and amendments to the constitution being constantly proposed and advocated.

SOURCE: The Economist

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