Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sonthi Wants to Crack Down on Anti-Coup Protesters

Thai junta chief calls for emergency rule in Bangkok

Thailand's junta chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin said Wednesday that he has asked the government to declare emergency rule in Bangkok to crack down on anti-coup protesters.

"I have proposed to the prime minister that he invoke emergency rule in order to maintain law and order," Sonthi told AFP in a telephone interview.

Anti-coup protesters have been holding weekly rallies against the junta, attracting a small but growing crowd that reached 2,000 people last Friday.

The protests have so far been peaceful, but Sonthi said he was afraid the protest movement could gather steam, much like the mass street demonstrations last year that eventually led to the coup against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

"I have consulted with the prime minister on the current situation and have explained to him that this current situation would lead to mutiny and chaos in the country," he told AFP.

"It's up to the prime minister" to decide on whether to declare emergency rule in the capital, he said.

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has the power to declare emergency rule with his cabinet's approval. The government has kept three southern provinces hit by an Islamic insurgency under emergency rule since mid-2005.

Sonthi made the call just two months after martial law was lifted in Bangkok. He had imposed martial law on Thailand immediately after seizing power on September 19, but has now lifted it across half the country.

Declaring emergency rule would give authorities many of the same powers they had under martial law.

The government would be able to detain suspects without charge for 30 days, and would have the power to seize and destroy anything deemed a threat to national security or to impede the work of the authorities.

Emergency rule also gives the government tough censorship powers as well as the right to impose a curfew and to ban public gatherings, while giving security forces broad immunity from prosecution.

Use of the provision in Thailand's south has been broadly condemned by human rights groups, who say it creates a climate of impunity that has worsened the conflict there.

Agence France-Presse

Junta plans stern action to muzzle detractors

The junta is likely to employ drastic measures against protesting supporters of ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra and detractors of the September 19 coup, although a Council for National Security (CNS) spokesman yesterday denied that any such action would be taken.


The Nation

There are only 2000 non-violent protesters. By cracking down on them, General Sonthi is only going to make things worse for himself. These generals never learn from past mistakes.


Red and White said...

This must be a first - I am in full agreement with you AND Bangkok Pundit on the same day :-)

I wonder if Sondhi has considered just how much he is undermining Surayud with his mickle of comments and commands. He would do better to remain quiet more often. Each time he speaks, he resembles the coup makers of old a little more.

anon said...

Sonthi is my hero.

The more he says, the weaker the junta gets.

Anonymous said...

seems the astrologers will be correct again -- if sonthi allows the week-long rallies 5 - 11 april, he will be in great trouble and the only way out is to stage a second coup as predicted by these astrologers, who were inaccurate only in predicting the second coup's timing (they said between 13 and 19 march). All in all, sonthi is now in a lose-lose situation -- with or without second coup.

Anonymous said...

This is just so wrong, so messed up:
Bangkok post -

"He [Surayad] noted that some protest leaders were trying by every means to discredit the CNS and the government, and to show that the Sept 19 coup was unjustified."

Now, the thing is - they have themselves not justified the coup, so sure he is afraid. But this just shows the unbelievable stuff he is spewing out of his lying mouth. And as a reason to stop the small gatherings? Gimme a break. Isn't this ok to do, if indeed there is truth? Yeah, but ofcourse impossible to accept for man who made the coup. Can't some Thai ppl see his own agenda to protect his own ass? Violence as a reason? Sure, if that was real threat.

"Gen Sonthi said he is not worried about protests by farmers as they do not have a political agenda. But he suggested they send representatives and hold talks with the government or authorities."

DOES he really mean that "farmers do not have political agenda." Excuse me? You are telling that farmers do not care about politics? They dont have any agenda? WTF

"Anti-coup protests, --, have been allowed to proceed -- because they are seen to be acting on principle, the source said."
Ie. you don't have to care for their thougts because it is just "principle". But suddenly these principles are dangerous and need to be shut down?

"He said that some 3,000 people are ready to head up to Bangkok to protest against the station if it offends Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda."

Hmm, ok, so I am thinkin' that because I have all this time been thinkin' Prem had his hands in the coup, that this must come from foreign bloggers only, this "image"? I mean, in Thailand, the lay man on street doesn't connect the dots? Or this is not discussed in media? So it is the evil "farang" bloggers who has convinced me that Prem definetly had something to do with the things? 'causeI could almost be sure that he attended some meetings in summer before the coup?

ps. I have lost my ability to trust anything Nation or Bangkok Post puts forward. The whole article is unbeliavable, containing among other things allegations and "sources" that say PTV is financed by Thaksin suddenly. True or not, just these anon sources and the untruthful proganda that they publish is unbeliavable.