Thailand’s current regime led by unelected defacto dictator Thaksin Shianwatra and his nepotist-appointed proxy and sister Yingluck Shinawatra has issued a threat to protesters regarding an upcoming January 13, 2014 mass mobilization. Bangkok’s English paper “The Nation” reported in its article, “Justice minister warns people against joining Bangkok Shutdown protest,” that:
Caretaker Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri Monday warned people against joining the Bangkok Shutdown protest on Monday, saying it is illegal and dangerous.
Chaikasem said Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, was facing sedition charge, which carried the maximum penalty of death sentence.
As a result, if the people support Suthep by joining the Bangkok Shutdown protest, they would also be regarded as committing wrongdoing, Chaikasem said.
He said the protesters could also be injured from clashes with PDRC’s opponents.
Of course, by “PDRC’s opponents,” Chaikasem means the regime’s own Hitleresque “red shirt” enforcers who are literally led by current members of parliament under the regime. It was not a warning, but rather a threat that includes both the prospect of agent provocateurs being planted within the ranks of the protesters as well as planned confrontations by armed thugs deployed by the regime in Bangkok beginning on January 13.
Image: Anti-regime protests have been massive, frequent, and most importantly, peaceful. The regime, desperately clinging to power, has conspired to use violence to discredit protesters and has already – when it could – deployed its “red shirt” enforcers to create violence and bloodshed. It has also deployed unidentified black-clad gunmen atop government buildings to shoot at its own police.
It should also be remembered that just recently, the regime has admitted to deploying unidentifiable black-clad gunmen atop government buildings during deadly violence on December 26, 2013.
To date, every mass mobilization by anti-regime protesters has been peaceful. There have been three mass mobilizations – one on November 24, December 9, and December 22, 2013 – that have seen hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets not only across Bangkok, but in provinces across the country.
The only violence that has taken place was when the regime purposefully deployed its “red shirt” enforcers to confront protesters, as was seen yesterday (and on several other occasions) in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Recent threats are to be interpreted not as a position of strength by the regime, but as a sign of immense weakness. Protesters should take this not as cue to shrink from the battle, but to redouble their efforts to ensure a quick and complete toppling of the regime.
Whomever the regime deploys against protesters will be undoubtedly outnumbered 1000-1. Use this advantage wisely to quickly but peacefully and humanely deal with the regime’s provocations. By doing so, protesters will prove through actions what they have insisted on in words – that they represent a real alternative to the violence, intimidation, and thuggery of the Thaksin Shinawatra regime and his “red shirt” enforcers.
What Protesters Should Do on January 13, 2013
- Have a Group: Build up small groups of friends and family to attend the protests – try to have people who have attended previous mass rallies to help guide others who may be attending January 13 as their first street action.
- Have a Plan: Plan out a schedule and a map of activities for each day starting on Monday, January 13, and until at least Friday, January 10. Members of your group can take turns going to different stages while other members rest or take care of daily business both within a single day or throughout the week. For instance, some members of your group can stay all day, while others stay half the day. Then those members can switch full/half schedules the next day and so on.
- Have a Means of Communication: Have a means of communicating with other members of your group, and use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to keep track of announcements and developments. AltThaiNews, for example, can be reached on Twitter @AltThaiNews. Have gathering points picked out ahead of time in case signals go down and you become separated.
- Be Vigilant: Be vigilant of both threats from outside and within groups of protesters. All legitimate protesters must IMMEDIATELY intervene and break-up violence between “supposed protesters” and staged provocateurs the regime plans to plant throughout the protests.
- Keep a Camera Nearby: Keep cameras for stills AND video nearby at all times, and practice as much as possible taking videos and QUICKLY uploading them to YouTube or sending them to people in both friendly Thai and English media. Readers of AltThaiNews can send videos or YouTube links to [email protected].
- Condemn ALL Violence: Stick to only roadblocks authorized by protest leaders. The regime may create its own “roadblocks” manned by its own “protesters” and then send “opposition” to try and break them for photogenic and incriminating scenes of “protesters beating regular people just trying to get to work.” If you are present at any of these incidents – IMMEDIATELY CONDEMN the violence, and demand that alleged “protesters” stand-down and refrain from violence. Do all within your means to protect anyone attacked by ANYONE, including any abandoned property.
- Wait for Police or Army to Intervene: As for “red shirts” or “red shirts” posing as other groups, attempting to confront protesters – protesters must refrain from reacting to their provocations. Police or military will intervene and the protesters will win both tactically and strategically. React to the regime’s provocations and you will be doing their work for them – undermining the peaceful nature of the protests and the credibility that has granted the movement its incredible success.
It is not enough to simply “look better” than Thaksin Shinawatra, his illegal proxy regime, and his violent “red shirt” enforcers. For this movement to be successful and to sustain itself, it must actually be better. It will only be able to do so if it makes a plan, wisely prepares for contingencies – especially provoked and staged violence carried out by the regime itself – and sticks to the principles that have made now 3 unprecedented, mass mobilizations already possible.
Image: Red shirts in 2009. Their violence and intimidation are legendary
. It is ugly when they do it, it is ugly when you do it. The regime plans fully to incite violence and undermine the credibility of protests that have seriously crippled its ability to sustain its 10 years of until now, unchecked criminality. If your movement truly is better, don’t just say it is, prove it through your actions. Don’t be a “red shirt!”
When confronted with a choice during upcoming mass mobilizations and if you find yourself in doubt – simply remind yourself, “Don’t be a red shirt!