In a disturbing yet expected report, Thaksin has once again ignored all and set about turning the Red Shirts into a structured military style force. This simply means Thaksin most definitely plans confrontation, and the odds of blood in the streets of Bangkok have just gone up.
Anyone who has studied Thaksin simply knew this was coming, Thaksin simply can not stop and will just continue to apply more and more force until he gets what he wants. So with the addition of a military structure to the Red Shirts, it simply adds a sense of organization where during the April 2009 riots it was unorganized chaos. This has the effect of putting on brass knuckles and it becomes a more significant challenge to control the Red Shirts.
In January there was an announcement that Thaksin would create an army. This caused some of his weaker stomached followers to abandon ship as they saw where this was going, and organized violence could invite treason charges and the death penalty. For a while there was a feeling that Thaksin actually listened to people for a change and backed down, but once again this was not the case as Thaksin listens to nobody. Part of the reason is this would all happen while Thaksin was safely away from the action and out of reach as he always is.
The structure defined is 1 military person for every 10 Red Shirts. This is the structure of a platoon and gives the ability to conducted organized attacks on the fly through a central command. This also is the formula to ignite a civil war. This also is very similar to Hitler era events in Germany.
If this is the case that in fact it is an army and not just Thais exercising their rights under a democracy, The government can simply call a state of emergency and ban gatherings. It is the definition of army along with military style uniforms that will add credibility to the state of emergency, and may also lead to saving lives.
The fact that retired military loyal to Thaksin are part of this army, it becomes more difficult for the Thai government to play this down. Thaksin is not afraid to draw blood, and if his Red Shirts are armed, then a balanced response is needed, but that will mean Thais shooting at Thais and the war will be on.
Quoting The Bangkok post;
Thaksin restructures red shirts
SPECIAL REPORT: People’s armies flourish as MPs told to hold rallies in their provinces,
Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has restructured the red shirt movement in preparation for a major rally in Bangkok ahead of the court verdict in his 76 billion baht assets case.
Security agencies have monitored the red shirt rallies led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) in various locations this month.
Information gathered from Feb 1 to Feb 10 showed that 18,346 people took part in rallies in Bangkok and the provinces and that Thaksin phoned in seven times to address his supporters, according to a security source quoting a report by security agencies.
Thaksin repeatedly stressed the need for the red shirts to join the rallies in Bangkok.
The source said the UDD would hold a rally in Nakhon Sawan tomorrow and then one in Bangkok from Monday to Friday, after which it would gather in Sukhothai’s Muang district on Feb27.
The court is due to bring down its ruling on Feb 26.
Thaksin had changed tactics by making Puea Thai Party MPs responsible for holding rallies in their respective provinces.
Key UDD figures would be asked to appear as “participants” only to address supporters.
The source said Thaksin had also revamped the structure of the red shirt movement.
The restructuring involves the setting up of a “people’s army” with a ratio of one “army” personnel to 10 red shirt supporters.
Many of the UDD’s local chapters have established such units. In Udon Thani, the pro-Thaksin Khon Rak Udon Club has recruited about 200 men to act as security guards wearing military-style uniforms, while in Chiang Mai about 100 similar security guards have been recruited.
Army specialist Khattiya Sawasdipol, widely known as Seh Daeng, is in charge of putting together a similar unit made up of about 150 security guards.
The source said Maj Gen Khattiya had tried to seek Thaksin’s backing to manage and supervise spending on the guards.
The security source said this had caused a rift between Maj Gen Khattiya and a faction led by Veera Musikhapong.
The UDD was already split between Mr Veera’s faction and a faction led by Jakrapob Penkair.
Differences are also emerging within Mr Veera’s own faction as Natthawut Saikua felt Maj Gen Khattiya should be allowed to play a more prominent role.
The source said security guards were paid 1,000 baht a day at the rallies.
If a rally is held in Bangkok, money spent on security operations amounted to about 2 million baht a day, the source said.
The source said Thaksin’s plan to restructure the red shirt movement also involved the setting up of a group of red shirt civil servants, now with a membership of about 2,000.
Some feel this was a move to chip away at the established UDD support base.
Thaksin asked his Class 10 fellows from the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, retired police officers and retired civil servants from the Interior Ministry who were loyal to him to establish the group of red shirt civil servants.
The security source said the UDD’s rally preparations were not going smoothly.
A group of politicians led by former Thai Rak Thai Party acting leader Chaturon Chaisaeng plans to travel to meet Thaksin at an undisclosed location to propose that occasional small protests be held to pressure the Democrat Party-led coalition government. However, the source said Mr Chaturon’s proposal was unlikely to appeal to Thaksin, who favours a more forceful approach to gaining victory.
The source believes the UDD’s rallies in Bangkok might last only a few days, and would be held at various locations in Bangkok.