A quick follow-up post on yesterday’s Yellow Shirt protests over the bill that could lead to Thaksin’s return…
Many people here in Thailand, as well as Thailand-watchers abroad, may well be thinking: Here we go again.
The WSJ reported yesterday:
Around 2,000 followers of the so-called Yellow Shirt movement swarmed around the Parliament building, preventing legislators from getting in. The action recalled the massive and sometimes violent political protests in recent years that at times destabilized business and tourism on one of Southeast Asia’s linchpin economies, and raised fears of a possible reprise in the weeks or months ahead.
Political analysts say Friday’s scenes show that a long-simmering question—the fate of Mr. Thaksin, who now lives in exile in Dubai—is coming to the boil, threatening a fragile détente between his supporters in the current government and the military and conservative bureaucrats who removed him from power in a bloodless coup in 2006.
The siblings have made efforts to reconcile with the establishment forces that ousted Mr. Thaksin, say academics and Thailand analysts. Ms. Yingluck in particular has worked to build closer ties with military leaders and key establishment figures such as chief royal adviser, Prem Tinsulanonda, these people say. If the Yingluck government is intent on bringing Mr. Thaksin back to Thailand, they say, now is the time to push through the necessary legislation.
The story also touches on divisions in the Red Shirt camp and the prospects of the Yellow Shirts being able to organize sufficiently large protests going forward.
Reuters ran a story yesterday, as well.
AFP has this story today:
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday warned the deeply divided kingdom faces a “cycle of violence” unless steps are taken towards reconciliation after years of civil unrest.
And finally, MCOT reports today:
House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont on Saturday decided to cancel next week’s parliamentary sessions regarding charter amendment and national reconciliation bills following recent chaos and disruption in the parliament.
Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomol said Mr Somsak decided to suspend the planned meeting on June 5 to deliberate the charter amendment and the June 6-7 sessions on the proposed reconciliation bills.
Mr Charoen said the House Speaker will call a meeting of representatives from both the government and opposition next Tuesday to find solutions, and if there is still problem with the deliberation of the reconciliation bills, other pending bills may be raised for consideration instead.
Meanwhile, the Red Shirts themselves held a rally today at the Thunderdome arena, in Bangkok’s north.
This Tweet and image came through at 1:20 p.m. Bangkok time from @LyNGinG.
แดงแน่นธันเดอร์โดม รอดู “จตุพร-ณัฐวุฒิ-วีระกานต์” กลับมาจัดรายการ “ความจริงวันนี้” ครบรอบครึ่งทศวรรษ twitter.com/LyNGinG/status…
— Lyng MakokiaT (@LyNGinG) June 2, 2012
So, what comes next?
Will Yingluck and Pheu Thai continue to push for the bills’ passage, perhaps a week or two down the line? Or will they abandon their efforts for now?
Will the Yellow Shirts continue to block Parliament in an effort to derail voting?
Will the Red Shirts begin protesting again?
What if the vote goes ahead, and the bill is passed?
Image above: Today’s IHT and Bangkok Post front pages.