The red shirt protest is running out of steam, there are only about 5,000 protestors left in Bangkok. The military and military force is the ultimate decider in the standoff- the military is backing the government, at least in appearance. The red shirts show of force proved their undoing- building large barricades, the discovery of a large cache of weapons and storming a hospital searching for soldiers (they found none) turned opinion against them.
The PM offered the red shirts a way out- and a way for the government to end the stand off without violence and forcing the military into action.
Elections will be held in November, the lower house of Parliament will be dissolved, major changes were outlined by the PM. The red shirts gave out signals of acceptance, then took the stage at the protest site with some fiery rhetoric and didn’t accept, but didn’t not accept. That was Tuesday night, foreign governments supported the PM plan, Thai opinions polls supported the plan, business leaders supported it, all was well.
Wednesday was a national holiday to celebrate the Coronation of the King- the 60th anniversary. It was nice to see large crowds of people lining the streets for the King and not a protest. Possibly back to normal in Thailand?
Thursday- red shirts still in place, waiting for a few last details on the dissolution and then packing up protest site. The newspapers are filled with details about how quickly the city can clean up the protest area and return Bangkok to normal. And then a giant WTF- the yellow shirts, the party of the PM- are calling for the PM to step down. Huh?
So, now the red shirts aren’t ending the protest as they are not sure the deal discussed is in place if the PM’s own party wants him to step down. At the same time the red shirt protest leaders are saying this- the UDD, the red shirts political party is formally accepting the PM’s deal.
And the military says that are ready to move on the red shirts protest, after resisting moving on the red shirts when the PM continued to ask.
The PM has alienated everyone. Doesn’t that mean he is doing his job and doing what is best for the people?
Now the question- is the way out of this impasse, the way forward?
Thailand is different from the USA and European countries in politics and protests, it is all on display here; they don’t put the makeup on the pig the way we do. Is that the difference in emerging countries and economies and first world nations? We are fighting the same issues- disparity between classes, manufacturing viability of a nation, national debt, social programs- but they simply look different in the USA as we have lobbyists to cut the deals behind closed doors and a great deal of pretty verbiage at formal press conferences featuring men with brown hair parted on the side, white teeth and wearing a red, blue oryellow tie and white shirt?
I hope this way out is the way forward. Well, first I hope that someone backs the PM and accepts the way out that everyone was lauding just 2 days ago.
I am skeptical the way out is the way forward based on what has happened in the USA- the way out of the financial crises was not the way forward, the people who created the crises continue to thrive while the nation struggles. The Iraq war was not the way forward in the fight against terrorism and dictatorships.
In the end, just as in other countries, the leaders of all interests involved will protect their own, that is already the only point that is very clear.