In classic Thaksin style, Thaksin has set up his Red Shirt followers to take a fall while he sits safely out of reach. Because Thaksin has done this so many times before, it certainly may qualify for some sort of group Darwin Award.
Certainly this time around the Thai government looks to properly exercise the definition of traitor. In some cases this may warrant a death penalty, so much more than a slap on the wrist Thaksin is asking for this time around.
Quoting The Nation:
“The government is determined to enforce the law strictly against any groups planning to stir up violence,” he said.
Suthep said riot forces – soldiers, policemen and civilian personnel – would not allow an eruption of violence and that instigators of any mayhem would be penalized as traitors.
So taking a look at the news of the day, some news reports seem to have verified about 300 million Baht has been transferred to the Red Shirt leaders. That is roughly 10 million US Dollars. Although the money has been laundered to hide it’s origin, there is a short list of one who would do this and that list of one is Thaksin. There is nobody else with money who would potentially benefit from causing further division in Thailand.
As rallies are not being announced it is fair to assume there is a dedicated group of Red Shirts that are being paid to just rally. For the most part that is their job. That number looks to be between 500 and 1000 and will go on cue to any place they decide to go. Whether this group has violent elements is it is yet to be seen, but it certainly looks like everyone in Bangkok will bump into a rally at some point between now and the end of the month.
With that said daily warnings from various embassies will soon be the theme warning their citizens where hot spots are. Because this needs to be real time, use of phone texting may me used. Getting around Bangkok will be like walking where a Hippo has marked with dung. If you are not familiar with that, just think of a manure spreader and you will have a good idea.
There is little doubt in anyone’s mind about the impending violence. Rallies alone simply do not have the strength to topple the government. Once things get rolling it will be damaging to the tourist industry as no doubt some rallies will be deliberately placed in tourist areas to apply added pressure by damaging the economy again. So with that said, hotel draining travel warnings from various governments can also be expected in the coming days.
This is likely to force the government into activation of a state of emergency thus banning gatherings bigger than 5 people, and that will be a bit of a double edge sword. That is almost guaranteed to damage the tourist trade. This tactic will fall just short of getting the Red Shirts labeled as traitors so simply expect it.