Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

An uneasy truce hung over Bangkok today after State of Emergency was declared at the end of a night of violence in the Thai capital.
Children were sent scurrying home from schools, workers went on strike, tourists, thousands of them British, struggled to get out of the country, and anti-government protesters dug themselves deeper into Government House.

Clashes began around 1.30 am and went on until 5am after hundreds of supporters of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and ousted Premier Thaksin Shinawatra made their first attack on protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy.
One person was killed some 40 taken to local hospitals. There were reports of gunshot wounds.

Then in a bombshell early today Thailand's Election Commission which has been investigating how Samak Sundaravej came to power made the announcement that this years elections were rigged and the P.M. and his whole party should step down.
The Election Commission is taking Samak's People's Power Party to the Constitution Court claiming the party's deputy leader bought votes.
Now the city is bracing itself for another night of violence. But from which direction they are not sure.

Crucial to any forthcoming battles is what role the Thai Army and Police will play now that a State of Emergency has been declared by Samak Sundaravej.
PAD supporters have been protesting for over a week demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej , elected as the nominee of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former PM who was indicted for corruption and is now in exile in Britain, and selling off his shares in Manchester City F.C.

They claim that Samak, and his cohorts, will enrich themselves and bleed the country in the process. They want an end to western style democracy, because, they say, politicians are able to buy themselves into power.

They have successfully shut down most of the country's railway system and for two days airports at the tourist hot spots of Phuket, and Krabi, in south Thailand.

Meanwhile police failed to get the protesters out of their occupation of Government House and the Army declined to intervene.
In the last few days Thailand's police chief has been replaced and so has the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
The Army is expected to be called upon to enforce the terms of the 'State of Emergency' but as it was the army who ousted Thaksin Shinawatra in a military coup just how far they will go remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, after this morning's violence, workers in all the state unions, which cover mainly utilities and transportation, came out on strike in sympathy with the protesters one day early.

They plan to use the national grid to black out and deprive water from the homes of politicians and police leaders responsible for police violence, they claim was used at an attack on the protesters at Government House.

Last night's violence was prompted after supporters of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship, a pro-Samak, pro-Thaksin group, led by a man called Shinawatra Pabunchart moved on protesters at Government House.

He said today: 'More of our supporters are coming. We will take back government house.'
Just how orchestrated it was still remains unclear. But Democrats say Premier Samak predicted the violence two days ago and it gave the Prime Minister an excuse to bring in the army.

Meanwhile thousands of British tourists are still struggling to get home from holiday destinations in the south.  The Thai Airways Union which is coming out in sympathy however said they would do their best to help foreigners caught up in the troubles.
The People's Alliance for Democracy remains defiant, one of its leaders Chamlong Srimuang said: 'We are staying until Samak and his party goes. There are not enough jails for us.'


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