01 December 2008

People’s Alliance for Democracy

Democracy Monument

The good news: today will be the final day of the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s occupation of Government House. The bad news: the protesters will go directly from Government House to join the PAD’s blockades of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. Both airports have been declared emergency zones.

Meanwhile, with Suvarnabhumi closed for a whole week due to the demonstrators, there has still been no serious attempt by the police to remove the PAD. The Prime Minister is in hiding, and army chief Anupong Paochinda has called on him to resign (in an interview with Channel 3 on 16th October). Under normal circumstances, Anupong would surely be dismissed for insubordination, though sacking him could provoke another coup.

In what it called a ‘final war’, the PAD occupied Government House for three months, completely unopposed by the police. On 26th August, one of the PAD’s core leaders, Sondhi Limthongkul, gave an interview to the Bangkok Post newspaper in which he dared the army to launch a coup (“soldiers today are cowards”) and positioned himself as the protector of the monarchy (“If we don’t do it, the monarchy might collapse”).

Despite its name, the PAD’s policies are undemocratic. Sondhi has called for a ‘new politics’ that would result in only 30% of MPs being elected, with the other 70% being appointed.