Rally against Democracy Fails to Draw Support
The biggest loser from yesterday’s failed rally/coup was the former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Democrat Party. The response of Yingluck Shinawatra’s government was proportional and reasonable. In other words, when a government has been elected and can be removed in the next vote, they tend to take greater care toward their citizens. Compared with the brutality of the last government in the 2010 massacres, this is a big step forward for the country. But of course, protecting electoral democracy in Thailand is far from over. Preventing the return of coups will require vigilance, patience, and active focus to keep the destructive, retroactive forces in the country at bay.
Below is some coverage from Bloomberg:
Thai anti-government forces called off a rally yesterday aimed at toppling Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra because of a poor turnout after clashes left two police officers in critical condition.
“I quit,” Boonlert Kaewprasit, a retired general leading the demonstration, said in an interview after he called off the rally. “I told the truth. I needed a million people, but we were interrupted when police fired tear gas and blocked people from coming.”
Police said as many as 20,000 protesters attended the rally on a rainy day in Bangkok, short of the 500,000 that demonstration leaders had predicted. Boonlert had earlier threatened to storm Yingluck’s office complex after police used tear gas and detained about 100 people who attempted to breach a road block set up as part of crowd-control measures.
The demonstration represented the latest effort by an alliance of generals, royalists and middle-class urbanites to oust a party linked to Yingluck’s brother Thaksin Shinawatra, whose allies have won the past five elections dating back to 2001. While the rally’s quick demise gives the government a short-term victory, Thaksin’s opponents remain a “potent force,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute for Strategic and International Studies at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.
“It’s a desperate plea to ask for another government when they cannot win at the polls,” he said by phone, referring to the anti-Thaksin group. “Time is not on their side. The tide of history, the forces at work, are going toward electoral democracy.”