Unlike the past protests in Hua Hin and at the airports, the government appears well prepared and in control. The police and military are in place and the government has worked with the media to avoid hype.
The UDD party (red shirts) will not hold a rally or protests after the verdict is announced; they have announced national wide protests and rallies for March 12,13 and 14.
The government has been monitoring the media very closely with a focus on community radios stations- there are over 6,600 community radio stations in Thailand, 20 are being investigated for “trying to insight violence.”
In general, the media has done a very good job of keeping stories factual and not fanning the flames and dramatizing events. This approach by the media is very refreshing after my years watching the US media ask obvious questions of those in power and report only on those events that draw the big ratings, and glorify those events.
As for the ruling, the media are predicting at least some of the Thb 76.6 billion that has been frozen will not be returned. 22 individuals are seeking the return of frozen assets- the headliners being Thaksin’s family- his wife is seeking the return of Thb 1 billion, his son is seeking Thb 17.5 billion, his daughter is seeking Thb 23.53 billion and his brother in law is seeking Thb 12 billion.
Security is tight, no doubt. There are groups of police at major intersections and around government buildings and key tourist hotels; bags are being searched on all forms of public transportation.
Hopefully Thailand has learned from the past few years and there will be no violence. It was reported this week that the Thai economy is growing and tourism is recovering from the political events of 2008 and 2009. Maybe all parties will realize that violent and disruptive protests hurt the world’s image of Thailand and send business and tourism dollars elsewhere- costing the people of Thailand money, opportunity and jobs over the short and long term.
As mentioned prior- the lack of protests in America about the Iraq war was embarrassing. I fully support the right to protest and admire a peaceful protest, the key being peaceful.