The sloppiness with which he dealt with both these incidents only shows how Somchai has failed to understand the current political crisis and its severity. After all, when he assumed leadership, he pledged to use democratic means, the rule of law as well as reconciliatory tools to end the ongoing stand-off at Government House - the very same promises he made to the diplomats on Wednesday. But somehow, he has not been able to honour his own words.
Former deputy prime minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyuth, who was given the responsibility of maintaining national security five hours before the clash, resigned after nearly 500 people ended up being injured. It was clear that Chavalit, who was bypassed, did not agree with the way Somchai handled the conflict. A few days before his resignation, he was also heard complaining about the government's policy on dealing with conflicts in the South, Thai-Cambodia ties as well as the dispute over Preah Vihear Temple.
Wow, Kavi, love the revisionist history so soon.
Here is an alternative report of what happened:
After appointed Deputy Prime Minister last month, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, a 76-year-old veteran politician and retired general, was earlier tasked with taking charge of security matters and acting as chief government negotiator with the anti-government movement People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to find peaceful solution for the country's current political impasse.
The efforts, if any, apparently failed, as PAD-organized protesters clashed with police in early morning in front of Parliament and Metropolitan Police Bureau in central Bangkok, which resulted in dozens of injuries.
The resignation letter, signed at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday whose content was shown on Thai TV, cited his failure on the task for the reason.
However, he said he regretted that situation worsened since Monday though he meant for the police to tackle the blockade problem with decisive measures but at the same time avoiding harm to the protesters.
Some 100 people have been injured during the clashes since early Tuesday morning when police tried to break the blockade of protesters in front of Parliament compound to make way for MPs andministers to get in and out of the compound, where they attended the government policy address by the new cabinet led by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat which ended in early afternoon.
He said he would take personal responsibility for the "losses" caused by the police action at his order.
Back to Kavi:
Indeed, it is absurd for Somchai to think his government could garner much-needed support and legitimacy from abroad. The unexpected large numbers of injuries on Tuesday have caused great concerns among the international community, with international human rights organisations and campaigners condemning the government's use of force and calling for an investigation of the incident. Police's excessive uses of forces and the nature of Somchai's order will be the bone of contention. The prime minister also failed to consult the ad hoc Committee to Monitor Unrest, set up during the imposition of emergency decree in early September.
I have done a fairly thorough search so far and I have yet to find a government or a human rights organization categorically denounce the actions of the Thai government in trying to open a parliament that was being illegally blockaded at the time.
I always find it fascinating how The Nation goes out of its way to condemn the government for doing its constitutional duties while saying nothing as the PAD illegally does everything in its power to prevent the government from functioning.
The fact is if the PAD hadn't taken over Government House and hadn't illegally blockaded the Parliament, there would have been no crackdown and there would be no tear gas and no injuries.
Unfortunately, double standards and hypocrisy have been part of The Nation's narrative since this crisis began.
I want to also point out that two respected human rights campaigners disagree with The Nation's lies and propaganda.
Azwhar Thi writes (UPIasiaonline.com):
Hong Kong, China — Amid all the reporting about the latest chaos in Bangkok was a remark from a very dangerous man who usually knows something about who is pulling the strings and why.
According to General Pallop Pinmanee, his old classmate and protest leader Major General Chamlong Srimuang had planned his arrest on Monday, which preceded the fighting outside Parliament, in order to “try to create a situation like the Black May incident” of 1992.
Little wonder. Chamlong emerged a hero then, seemingly urging people not to provoke violence, being pulled from the thousands sprawling on the streets after the army moved in, and finally, kneeling before the king with the unelected prime minister to claim his place in history.
Although things are very different this time around, one constant is that Chamlong and his allies have planned for people to be killed. Sixteen years ago, the numbers of casualties were perhaps more than they expected. This week, judging from the tone of Chamlong’s inane statement about national duty before death, maybe they haven’t been enough.
One of the difficulties for human rights workers in Thailand during the last few years has been how to stay involved in pressing national affairs without getting caught up in the scheming of Chamlong and others like him who inhabit all sides of the current fracas.
There is often a fine line between human rights and political advocacy, and many have inadvertently or deliberately crossed it, possibly believing that the removal of this government or that, this person or that, is what human rights work is all about. Some have become caught up in the dirty tricks of power mongers and their protagonists and have lost touch with their original agenda.
And you can re-read Jai Unphakorn's alternative analysis again here.