Civil disobedience in Thailand against military rule

There has been significant weekend defiance of military rule in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

So far, there’s been a soft push back from soldiers, with only a handful of arrests although it’s unclear just how long the military rulers will stand for the civil disobedience.

Up to 200 people have now been detained by the military, with the latest target, prominent academics and journalists.

The former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has reportedly been released but it appears her freedom of movement is restricted.

Correspondent: Samantha Hawley, Southeast Asia correspondent

Speakers: Titian Pongsudhirak, political analyst; Pravit Rojanaphruk, prominent Thai Journalist

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: In Thailand, there’s power-grab under way which seems to know no bounds.

An Army general is seizing every last bit of authority, the last mechanism of a democratic Parliament has been done away with.

With a stroke of a pen, the most powerful man in the nation, general Prayuth Chan-ocha, who’s already torn up the constitution, has now also done away with the senate.

On what’s now effectively military run TV, the propaganda spew’s out.

And widespread international condemnation is dismissed.

(Sound of military television propaganda)

«Democracy in Thailand has resulted in losses which is definitely different from other countries», says the Army’s deputy spokesman.

But it’s becoming increasingly evident that military rule far from stopping any further loss of life, may deepen this crisis.

(Sound of crowds)

Small crowds spill out, demanding democracy be restored.

(Sound of crowds)

«Get out, get out», they yell at soldiers who fill the centre of the capital.

For a third day, protestors have defied martial law and with each day the numbers increase.

TITIAN PONGSUDHIRAK: The expectations and demands of 2014 are very different than the Cold War, so seizing power means really, just disenfranchising the Thai electorates from owning their own country and when the people feel that their rights and their ownerships have been violated, they may well take action against it and the military will be forced to have a very firm hand and some repression.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Titian Pongsudhirak is an outspoken academic, one of the few that still has his freedom.

Almost 200 political affiliated individuals have now been detained by the military, the latest target is academics and journalists.

PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK: Massive censorship of broadcast media, books critical about Thai politics being removed from the bookshelves, we are talking about books in English, six titles. All this doesn’t bode well. Plus, instruction to the print media, not to publish or disseminate anything that could be regarded as contrary to the maintenance of peace and order.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: We spoke to Pravit Rojanaphruk, a prominent Thai Journalist last week, but now he’s in the hands of the military, along with so many others.

In his last social media message before reporting to the army, he said «I’m on my way to see the new dictator of Thailand. Hopefully he’ll be the last.»



Civil disobedience in Thailand against military rule | Asia Pacific | ABC Radio Australia.

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