Thailand’s Permanent State of Emergency

A powerful article from Shawn W. Crispin, an editor for Asia Times Online, points to the inception of a new period of military-authoritarian dictatorship in Thailand.

Thailand is sliding towards de-facto military rule and it is not clear that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has the will or power to turn back the authoritarian tide. A sustained state of emergency has given security forces extraordinary powers to detain suspects without trial, censor the media and ban public gatherings, powers the top brass have flexed after last month’s dramatic crackdown on anti-government protesters encamped in the heart of Bangkok.

One military insider contends that the Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES), which was formed to handle the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) protest group’s street protests, is morphing into a sort of ”shadow government” to Abhisit’s democratically elected coalition. There is no sign since the protest’s dispersal that the CRES plans to disband. The insider says it is putting in place structures to sustain its influence over the country’s administration.