Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Massed ranks of Thai police failed to clear a path through anti-government demonstrators who are blocking parliament and preventing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva from delivering his policy address for a second day.
“The police may be able to open the way today, they will only use shields,” Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said in an interview with Channel 3 television. “The country is in urgent need of a functioning government.”
The blockade by thousands of red-shirted backers of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra presents Abhisit, 44, with his first dilemma since being voted by lawmakers into office on Dec. 15. Abhisit has vowed not to use violence to disperse the crowds, who are demanding that he quit and call immediate elections.
“The prime minister ordered us not to use force, such as tear gas,” Suthep said, adding that the policy address, which is required by the constitution, may again be delayed until tomorrow. “Negotiation has completely failed,” he said.
The pro-Thaksin demonstrators -- estimated at 9,000 by police -- laid siege to parliament yesterday, saying they would allow lawmakers to pass through only on foot. Still, Chai Chidchob, the parliamentary speaker, said that walking into the building presented an unacceptable security risk.
Abhisit’s policy address, which will contain details of his government’s planned program, must be presented by Jan. 7, the Bangkok Post reported today, without citing anyone. The government may ask for an extension to that deadline, it said.
Abhisit, leader of the Democrat Party, became prime minister after the former ruling pro-Thaksin People Power Party, or PPP, was disbanded earlier this month by the courts. Two pro- Thaksin administrations this year were hounded by yellow-shirted protesters from the so-called People’s Alliance for Democracy, which occupied the prime minister’s office and then Bangkok’s main airports.
The Democrats have nobody to blame but themselves. They have no credibility. They could have taken a strong stand against the illegal tactics of the PAD. Instead, they used the thuggish PAD tactics, the courts and the behind the scenes persuasiveness of the army to come to power. Now, they think the Reds should roll over for them, because they are cute Democrats with beautiful English accents and foreign degrees. Typical elitist mentality.
Funny, when Abhisit was in the opposition, he called for a dissolution of parliament to end the impasse. I doubt you will be hearing that from Abhisit now.
I don't think the Reds will hold out though. They don't have the deep pockets of the army, the bureaucracy, the big banks, Bangkok Chinese capitalists and other royalist higher ups to sustain their movement. And they certainly won't have the shameless propagandists at The Nation rooting for them. I'm sure they have a month's worth of "mob paid by Thaksin" columns already in the works.
Sopon was his typical hysterical lying self today.