In Thailand there are occasional violent clashes between groups. As Thailand is polarized at the moment between pro and anti Thaksin supporters, it is often the pro Thaksin supporters that draw blood.
Thaksin Shinawatra political career in Thailand has been littered with blood and bodies. Thaksin’s involvement in a drug war that left thousands of people dead in extrajudicial killings. Thaksin’s comment “In this war, drug dealers must die” clearly suggests it was Thaksin policy.
In southern Thailand, it was Thaksin’s heavy handed approach to Muslims who wanted independence that lead to dozens of people suffocating in a closed shipping container that was being used as a makeshift jail. That action triggered violence in the 3 southern most provinces along and near the Malaysia border. That violence is ongoing today and the body count continues to go up each month long after Thaksin was removed from power.
In 2006 Pro Thaksin supporters attacked peaceful protesters from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD). It was old men, young children and women that suffered the brunt of the attack. The violence was increasing and it was all coming from the pro Thaksin groups. This violence was one of the factors that lead to the September 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin.
Fast forward to 2008 and with the re-emergence of Thaksin supporters, the PAD has also had reason to come back. With that so has Thaksin’s signature violence directed at anti Thaksin groups.
A News story dated July 26;
Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung and the People’s Alliance for Democracy yesterday traded blame for Thursday’s violence by government supporters in the Northeast that left 29 people hurt.
“Supporters of [former PM] Thaksin can’t stand it and they come out to scare away the [PAD protesters]. If the PAD doesn’t stop this practice of holding rallies in the provinces, they will always face angry government supporters. And the bickering will never stop,” Chalerm said.
But the PAD accused “the puppet government” of unleashing “pro-government thugs” on its demonstrations in Udon Thani and Buri Ram.
Chalerm said the PAD’s recent activities upcountry had upset government supporters as their beloved politicians, especially Thaksin Shinawatra, were “unfairly” criticized with derogatory words. “I wonder if the PAD is concerned that news has spread all over the world that Thais are killing each other [although no one died],” he said.
The PAD in a statement denounced the assaults on its followers and hinted that they would counter-attack. “People at the receiving end may finally rise to fight back. And that time is near,” the PAD warned.
The statement advised supporters against holding rallies in provinces where “you can’t rely on police and state officials for security” and urged them to join the PAD’s campaign in Bangkok instead. It also called on Army chief General Anupong Paochinda, as director of the Internal Security Operations Command, to “show more responsibility than staying neutral” in order to prevent widespread bloodshed.
In Udon Thani, 15 people were injured, including two police, when furious pro-government people forced their way past police barriers to attack PAD supporters at a local park.
In Buri Ram, a pro-government gang clashed with police and left 14 officers injured when the men forced their way into the PAD’s assembly and tore down the stage. Fourteen people were arrested, two of them from a PAD-affiliated group, for obstructing police duties and destroying property.
Kwanchai Praipana, leader of the Udon Thai Patriots Club, said his people had been attacked by PAD supporters first. Charoen Mookhachornpan, a local PAD leader, said Kwanchai had used his control of a local radio station to incite violence.
Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said he had learned that funds had been distributed to provinces to hire participants for such anti-PAD activities.
“Some provinces got more than Bt30 million each.”
As you read past the allegations by the pro Thaksin group it becomes very clear many of the allegations do not match the evidence. As the pro Thaksin groups are known for violence, the PAD is known for peaceful law abiding rallies. So much so that women with their young children are often part of the crowd. Any mother in her right mind would never expose her children to danger. So as the comments of the pro Thaksin group do not match the facts, how they are viewed by others is once again lowered. Thaksin has been known to fund people to commit violent acts so hearing about millions of Baht being spent for this is also a Thaksin signature.
Summarily the pro Thaksin people tend to be of lesser education and they come up short in the art of debate. Without cognitive ability to resolve problems or differences, physical solutions are employed. This is not unique to Thai people, this tends to be the case around the world where brawn is used when brain is unavailable. This is much like anything can instantly become a hammer when a hammer is not available.
The pro Thaksin people essentially would lose the debate if they were on par with the anti Thaksin people. The pro Thaksin side is citing a few positive things Thaksin did for them when nobody else did in the past. So from that point of view one can certainly understand where they are coming from. In contrast Thaksin has done much more self serving harm to Thailand than good and that clearly outweighs any positives. The pro Thaksin people are choosing to ignore the harm Thaksin has done and unfortunately that elective blindness will cause them to lose the debate.
Meanwhile the violence continues and will do so until Thaksin is essentially unplugged from the system. That may happen before the end of the year as his first trial is underway, however people are already laying odds Thaksin will have skipped town and left Thailand covertly to escape justice as he does reflect being a coward once he is stripped of any protection.