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  1. #1
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    The Battle has finished 22nd May lets count the dead

    7 districts declared disaster zones

    The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced on Friday that seven of Bangkok's 50 districts have been declared disaster zones.

    They are Bang Rak, Din Daeng, Pathum Wan, Klong Toey, Sathorn, Wattana and Ratchathewi.

    Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said a centre has been set up to help protest-hit residents. Those affected from political turmoil in the capital can register for aid at their local districts.

    Meanwhile, Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat said all schools in the capital, except 28 schools in the "red zones" would begin their new semester on Monday.

    The schools in risk-prone areas will not open until May 31, he said.

    Bangkok Post


    Bail applications for 114 red shirts denied


    The Southern Bangkok Court on Friday denied the bail applications for 114 red shirts facing charges relating to terrorism and the emergency rule.

    Following the hearing, the court approved the remand of the 114, named as accomplices to cause the mayhem since Wednesday, for six days until next Wednesday pending the completion of the police report.

    Of the 114, 34 are being held at the Naresuan base in Cha-am, Phetchaburi, 45 are at the detention centre of the Border Patrol Police Region 1 in Pathum Thani. The remainders are under the police's custody at Pathumwan and Lumpini police stations.

    The Nation


    Curfew lifted in Pattaya

    The Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) lifted curfew in Pattaya on Friday night.

    The announcement, which was made at 8.45pm Friday, is effective immediately.

    Curfew imposed in Chonburi province greatly affected tourism in Pattaya, so the CRES decided to lift curfew there, according to local reports.

    The curfew has been imposed in Bangkok and 23 other provinces since Wednesday.

    Bangkok Post


    Probe underway for three schools torched despite curfew


    Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiart on Friday formed two panels, one in charge of fact-finding related to the arson attacks of three schools in the Northeast and another responsible for assessing the damage.

    During the first day of curfew on Wednesday, two arson attacks were reported in Nong Khai and Yasothorn.

    Ban Tha Chiang Krua School in Nong Khai's Seka district was burned down. The arson happened at Ban Yang Krue Nong Thom School in Yasothorn's Muang district.

    During Thursday's curfew, Ban Wang Keng School was torched at Khon Kaen's Nam Phong district.

    The Nation


    Surrendered leaders 'not living comfortably'


    Red-shirt leaders who have been detained at Naresuan military camp in Phetchaburi province do not live comfortably as reported by some local media, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Amnuay Nimmano said on Friday night.

    "I went to inform them of their charges and they looked concerned," he said, adding that some of the charges are terrorism and lese majeste.

    He said that the five red-shirt core leaders who surrendered on Wednesday were put in the same room because of the limited space.

    The leaders include Natthawut Saikua, Jatuporn Prompan and Kwanchai Praipana.
    He spoke after photos of the leaders being visited by their supporters at the military camp were posted on the internet.

    Forty protesters who refused to leave the Ratchaprasong rally site as demanded by the authorities were also detained at the camp, he said.

    Bangkok Post


    Arisman negotiating to surrender


    Red-shirt leader Arisman Pongruangrong is still hiding in Thailand and has contacted to negotiate the terms for his surrender, police spokesman Lt General Pongsapat Pongcharoen said on Friday.

    Arisman fled the Rajprasong rally site before the security forces moved in to end the protest on Wednesday. He is wanted on charges related to terrorism and the violations of the emergency rule.

    The fugitive suspect is expected to be in a deeper legal predicament than other red-shirt leaders. He was involved in the Pattaya raid last April which caused the collapse of the Asean meeting and the Summit of Asian leaders.

    The Nation


  2. #2
    Thailand Expat BKKBoet's Avatar
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    The aftermath; link to pictures of weapons seized displayed at CRES press conference today.

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=251990&id=120544157972374&fbid=12540 7694152687#!/album.php?aid=20048&id=120544157972374

    I also see on the 'forum that cannot be named' there is a report about 100's of ID cards being found dumped in the sewer behind Central World. Seems like the rumours about them withholding them for participation/payment were true.

  3. #3
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    That's quite some arsenal....!

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    Daeng Siam

    Daeng Siam’s move to hurt road map
    Published: 22/05/2010 at 02:45 PM
    Online news: Breakingnews

    The plan to move against the government by Deang Siam or Red Siam group could be an obstacle of the national reconciliation road map proposed by the prime minister, Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samutrak said on Saturday.

    Mr Buranat was responding to a remark by the groups’ leader who had stated that his group would hold a mass gathering against the government once the state of emergency is lifted.

    He called on the Daeng Siam group to hold political rally in line with the law and the democratic principles.
    Thepthai Senpong, personal spokesman of the Democrat Party leader, took the same tone.

    Mr Thepthai said the country had already been severely damaged by the prolonged red-shirts rally. He called on the group to give the country an opportunity of recovering.

    He warned that the Red Siam group should not let itself to become a tool to destroy the country of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    Deang Siama group, formerly a political ally to the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), had pulled out from UDD citing it has different way of fighting against the government from the red-shirt people group.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar

  5. #5
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    Another one of Thaksin's old buddies makes a comment on behalf of the red shirts.....

    I love how he says true democracy.....is that the version of democracy, that when you don't get your own way, you loot and burn? Just wondering..

    Reds likely to move underground

    Reds likely to move underground
    Published: 22/05/2010 at 02:00 PM
    Online news: Breakingnews

    There is a possibility that the red-shirts would make underground movements to fight for true democracy, former key figure of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party Jaturon Chaisaeng said on Saturday.

    After the government had used force to crackdown on protesters at Ratchaprasong intersection on Wednesday, the supporters of Pro-Thaksin United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) have no other way out but to continue fighting against the Democrat-led government underground, Mr Jaturon said.

    “This would worsen the ongoing political conflict and could lead to a more critical situation”, he warned.

    He personally sees that the country now has no true democracy and the people can not rely on justice process as the government has controlled all mechanism, starting from pressing charges to legal prosecuting.

    Mr Jaturon suggested the red-shirt people group pause for breath and assesses its remaining strength in order to further fight for democracy by peaceful means.

  6. #6
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    Poll: People feel sad on Thais

    Poll: People feel sad on Thais’ conflict
    Published: 22/05/2010 at 11:28 AM
    Online news: Local News

    Nearly all respondents (96.6 per cent) said they were very said to see that Thai people do not love each other anymore, according to Abac poll’s results released on Saturday.

    Assumption University’s Abac poll sought for opinion from 1,185 households in 17 provinces on May 21.

    According to the pollster, 97.8 per cent of the respondents were concerned about the low income people who have become jobless caused by political violence, while 74.5 per cent of them supported the five-point reconciliation road map proposed by the prime minister.

  7. #7
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    What price democracy.....?

    Victims seek govt assistance

    BANGKOK RIOTS
    Victims seek govt assistance
    By Kornchanok Raksaseri,
    Somroutai Sapsomboon
    The Nation
    Published on May 22, 2010


    Affected people cry for the government's urgent help and plan to rally at Central World today.

    Wandee Saetang, 52, yesterday stood at the Saladaeng Intersection at 2pm with the hope to meet reporters. She worked at the Central World canteen.

    "I don't know what else I can do. Now I'm at the dead end. I don't understand why we never caused the government any trouble, but the government never sees us. On the other hand, the protesters caused many problems but the government helped them with many things without any request," she said tearfully.

    She said her employer told her that the shop has to be closed on critical days. But the government would help the daily workers upon registration. They registered with the government since April 1213 but they had not received any help.

    "The officials from the Labour Ministry said they could not help us as we don't have any social security card. But I think that the more they must help us," she said, adding that she had yet to pay two months of house rent at the end of this month, otherwise, they will have to move out.

    The rent of the house she's been living for 30 years is Bt3,000 a month. With the wage Bt350 a day, she has to be responsible for a 13yearold daughter and her 80yearold parents.

    She went to Central World, where used to be her office, since 10am. She met some people who also used to work there.

    This morning, (Saturday) they plan to bring more excolleagues and meet again at the intersection before marching to the burnt Central World.

    Wandee's excolleague Phochana Kongkamnan, 33, said she and about a dozen of her friends came to the intersection almost every day as they had nowhere to go.

    "It's too stressful to stay at home. I can't do anything there. I come out here I might be lucky enough to get a job," she said.

    She took the government's free bus service to the area.

    Phochana said during the period she is jobless since April 3, when the red shirt came to rally at Rajprasong Intersection, she had to borrow money from relatives and loan sharks to survive.

    Being a daily worker with Bt250 wage, Phochana has no savings but must take care of her 7yearold daughter and a niece.

    "Reality is sadder than in novels. (Sad but real) She said tearfully. "I hope somebody helps me before I lose my last breath."

    "I haven't had a meal since the morning," she said and showed the only bottle of water that kept her stay. "I am a grownup, I can stand it. But children can't."

    She called for urgent assistance as the landlord asked her to leave after failing to pay two months of the rent.

    She suggested that, at least, the government to help talk to the landlords to allow them to stay further.

    Boonnam Somsaksiri, a 47yearold vendor in Silom, is still luckier than Wandee and Phochana he has some savings. He wanted somebody to ensure that the government would not desert them and give urgent help.

    "In the early period when the government took the post, it could give away Bt2,000. Now it should give some money urgently to help the troubled people survive," he said.

    Tour guide Nitat Rachdee, 49, said he came to take photos at Saladaeng Intersection for his memory and his pleasure.

    "Every corner of this area is where I made a living. Today is the first day in the past two months that I have a mall group of Spanish tourists," he said.

    He usually earned more than Bt50,000 each month. But after the red shirt started rallying in March 12, his income dropped until he barely earned.

    "As a tour guide, I want to ask the government to fix the country's image so that tourism industry can come back as soon as possible," he said.

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    Curfew exacerbates tourism woes

    Curfew exacerbates tourism woes
    By Suchat Sritama
    Chanjira Jarusupawat
    The Nation

    Wednesday's implementation of a night-time curfew for Bangkok and many other provinces has caused tourism and entertainment activities at major destinations to plunge dramatically nationwide, to below even low-season levels.

    Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association president Sarawut Sae-teo yesterday said hotel occupancy in his province had dropped to 10-20 per cent, because tourists were worried about the curfew.

    "Hotel and tourism businesses in Chiang Mai don't expect to recover before year-end," he said.

    Sarawut said tourism businesses in particular were seeing their custom drop below low-season levels in the North. And not only hotels are affected; the curfew has also hit entertainment and general businesses in the province, as well as night markets like the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Thanit Chumseang, operator of the popular Good View Restaurant in Chiang Mai, said he had decided to shut down temporarily, because he could not make enough to cover expenses.

    He used to take in Bt10,000 or more each night but has already lost more than Bt100,000.

    Thanit wants the government to lift the curfew.

    Surat Thani Deputy Governor Somsak Jungtrakul said tourist numbers were down 80 per cent from before the curfew.

    However, he said the province had big plans to rebuild tourism in major destinations like Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan and national parks.

    Hat Yai Tourism Association president Somchart Pimtatpuporn said the political turbulence in Bangkok had caused Singaporeans and Malaysians to cancel their trips to Thailand.

    However, the association plans to contact its alliances abroad to emphasise that Hat Yai has not been affected and remains safe for vacations.

    Yesterday, four more countries - Israel, Switzerland, the UK and Brazil - raised their advisories against travel to Thailand to the highest level, making 16 nations to do so.

    A total of 47 countries have issued some level of warning against travel to the Kingdom.

  9. #9
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    Financial remedies on the cards

    REVIVING BUSINESS
    Financial remedies on the cards
    By The Nation

    State banks, agencies ready to offer fresh loans, reduction in interest rates

    Public and private organisations are gearing up for restoration measures, with the Small and Medium-Enterprises Development Bank having set aside Bt10 billion for loans to small businesses in affected areas.

    State-owned financial institutions will also present remedial measures this weekend as ordered by Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, while the Revenue Department is working to come up with tax-related measures, Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives president Luck Wajananawat said.

    He added that the banks would finalise the beneficiaries in Bangkok and in provinces, along with the amounts to be granted. It has been agreed that the SME Bank would

    take care of businesses, the Government Savings Bank would

    look after street vendors and BAAC farmers nationwide. Options include fresh loans and a reduction in interest rates.

    Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Pataraprasit said yesterday that the ministry had ordered SME Bank

    to double the loans to affected businesses. On Tuesday, it will ask for Cabinet approval to relax loan requirements, once it has surveyed Rajprasong and set up a liquidity aid centre on Monday.

    The relaxation measures might include the extension of the loan re-payment period from five to six years, with the grace period for principal repayment extended from one to two years. If there is no collateral, borrowers will be charged 2 percentage points below the minimum lending rate (MLR), while those with collateral will be given loans at 3 percentage points below MLR. SMEs can borrow up to four times their income or 25 times their rental income up to the maximum of Bt3 million.

    SME Bank president Soros Sakornvisava said businesses located in the affected area as well as tenants would be eligible for the loans. Though he did not hide his worries about

    the loan quality, he did say that it

    should not affect the bank financially because the loans would be extended under a different account. Also, the SME Bank would be subsidised for any losses.

    He admitted that businesses do need financial aid, given that they have suffered from external factors. Initial study shows that about 3,000 SMEs are affected by the violence.

    Meanwhile, Thai Hotels Association will soon submit nine proposals to the government to help affected hotels. The proposals included three-year debt rescheduling with short-term debt moratorium. The government will also be asked to cover three months of salary for hotel employees in the Rajprasong area and nearby.

    Double standards

    Chai Srivikorn, president of Rajprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA), is urging the government to immediately restore confidence and address political conflicts, particularly the issue of double standards. The government should also quickly address the impact on workers, because many shops may remain closed for several months and some workers might lose their jobs.

    Yesterday, the Federation of Thai Industries hosted small group meetings and the information will be tabled at the next FTI board meeting on Monday. FTI president Payungsak Chartsuthiphol said industrial impact nationwide would be assessed, adding that the damage should be minimal because industrial plants are located outside the sites of violence.

    Earlier, three major business associations including FTI, estimated that the economic damage could be to the tune of Bt50 billion to Bt60 billion if the protests continued for two months. However, that amount did not take into account the gunfire and riots, he said.

    The Commerce Ministry plans to tap Bt300 million from the Bt5-billion package approved by the Cabinet recently to help affected business. Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai said the money would finance trade fairs so that enterprises can release their stockpiles and consumers can shop for low-priced items.

    A sub-committee of Airports of Thailand will next week convene to forge remedial measures for small vendors at Suvarnabhumi Airport, said airport general manager Nirand Theeranartsin. Some vendors have submitted written complaints, citing that the political violence has led to a drop in passengers and their income.

    On May 20, the airport accommodated only 62,000 passengers, less than half of the daily average of 130,000, with about 80 flights cancelled. Nirand noted that this would also reduce the landing and parking fees.

    At an economic conference in Tokyo yesterday, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said that while Thailand's manufacturers and exporters have largely been unaffected by the crisis, the government would need to step in to help stabilise the tourism industry. While tourism makes up about 6 per cent of the gross domestic product, it employs as much as 20 per cent of the country's work force, he said.

    "Clearly, with the events that took place over the past several weeks, and the pictures of these events flashing across TV screens around the world, it is going to have a very disastrous impact on tourism for the rest of the year," he said.

    So far, the protest turmoil has probably cut 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points from Thailand's GDP.

    Korn also acknowledged that Thailand, like many other developing Asian nations, must find ways to reduce poverty and address the yawning gap between the rich and the poor.

    "Recent political events in Thailand have proved that you ignore this issue at your own peril," he said.

    While the percentage of Thais living below the poverty line has dropped to 9 per cent from 45 per cent of the population 25 years ago, Korn said income disparity remained a serious problem, with the country's top 20 per cent earning more than 12 times of those in the bottom.

  10. #10
    DaffyDuck
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    [QUOTE=StrontiumDog;1442722The plan to move against the government by Deang Siam or Red Siam group could be an obstacle of the national reconciliation road map proposed by the prime minister, Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samutrak said on Saturday.[/QUOTE]

    So much for Sabang's wet dream that there'll be elections this year.

    I certainly love how the Reds consistently sabotage themselves, and just hand full control to Abhisit over and over.

  11. #11
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    Normal operations gradually returning

    Normal operations gradually returning
    By The Nation

    Nearly all business activities in Bangkok will resume on Monday, with commercial banks and retailers opening most of their branches this weekend.

    Rajprasong Square Trade Association president Chai Srivikorn yesterday said hotels in the area would resume operations soon after the completion of safety inspections and the resumption of power to the area.
    "Those hotels that were only slightly affected can reopen immediately once power is restored, such as the Grand Hyatt, the Intercontinental, the Holiday Inn, the Four Seasons and the Arnoma," he said.

    Thai Bankers' Association president Prasarn Trairatvorakul said all commercial banks would resume normal operations on Monday.

    Nine banks will reopen their shopping-centre branches today: Bangkok Bank (BBL), Krung Thai Bank, Kasikornbank, Siam Commercial Bank, Bank of Ayudhya, TMB Bank, Siam City Bank, Thanachart Bank and Thai Credit Retail Bank.

    Prasarn said the branches could close earlier than usual, depending on the circumstances. Clients are urged to use services through other channels, such as ATMs, the Internet and mobile phones.

    The Bank of Thailand will receive damage reports from financial institutions on Monday, Assistant Governor Sorasit Soontornkes said.

    Seventeen branches of five banks were set ablaze, including 10 belonging to BBL. Those branches will not resume operations soon, and their clients are being urged to use other branches instead.

    However, Sorasit said clients should rest assured that no records at any of the 17 branches were lost, because all of the banks had back-up storage.

    The Government Housing Bank said it would not operate counters at all shopping centres nationwide, citing safety reasons.

    All Central Department Stores and shopping centres opened in the greater Bangkok area were open from 11am to 8pm yesterday, except for the Chidlom and Silom branches. Other ones upcountry were also operating as usual, except the Kad Suan Kaew branch in Chiang Mai, which remains closed. Robinson Department Store will open its stand-alone branches from 11am to 6pm this weekend, while those inside shopping centres will open and close in accordance with the centres' operating hours.

    Tesco Lotus Express will open from 7am today, while the hypermarket branches will open at 9am.

    With shopping centres reopening, the Major Cineplex Group also resumed operations yesterday at nearly all cinemas from 10am to 6pm, except in Big C Rajdamri and Siam Paragon.

    Thai Airways International yesterday said its departure schedule remained unchanged despite the curfew.

    Advanced Info Service's customer-service shops in sensitive areas nationwide will reopen today after having been closed since Wednesday.

  12. #12
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    Interesting article.


    Troubling questions after Operation Ratchaprasong

    Troubling questions after Operation Ratchaprasong
    Published: 22/05/2010 at 02:37 AM
    Online news: Opinion

    The street riots which culminated with the arson of Bangkok's central business district have been put down as inevitable. Both the ragtag red shirts' perpetrators of violence and the more organised armed "men in black" were no match for a uniformed army supported by armoured columns in the end.


    Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva speaks at a news conference held at the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bangkok on Friday. Mr Abhisit said he was committed to national reconciliation but made no offer of fresh elections, two days after troops quelled the worst political violence in modern Thai history.

    The 70-odd death toll so far from the Ratchaprasong-centred protests over the last two months exceeds each of the previous crises - the entwined Octobers of 1973 and 1976 and the straightforward pro-democracy uprising in May 1992.

    On the other hand, the arson attacks have set back the Bangkok-concentrated capitalist boom by at least a decade. The symbolic damage could be more costly as the knock-on effects on tourism and investment come to the fore.

    While all stakeholders assess the mounting costs, several troubling questions warrant clarity in the days during the immediate aftermath of the Ratchaprasong rage and rampage.

    First, had the various peace overtures run their course? On the eve of the crackdown, a senate-sponsored peace deal appeared in the works. Leading senators were shown on state-run and army-owned television stations in discussion with the leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.

    Perhaps the UDD hardliners hijacked and vetoed the negotiations. Perhaps convicted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra told the UDD hardliners loyal to him to pull the plug. Perhaps the rank-and-file protesters at Ratchaprasong were intransigent to any deal, having been indoctrinated day in and day out on the stage rhetoric of social injustice and al leged murders of their fellow demonstrators from the April 10 clash.

    But it was clear that the UDD moderates were intent on standing down. Might more time allotted to them for persuasion of their crowds and bargaining with their opposing hardliners have helped bring a peaceful way out?

    And the failures of earlier olive branches need to be explained.

    What happened to the promising negotiations brokered by Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra? Was it scuttled by the Thaksin hardliners, rejected by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, or both? Mr Abhisit came up with a five-point peace proposal with a concrete election timetable for November polls just two weeks before street riots spiralled out of control. This proposal was accepted by the UDD with the additional condition that Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban turn himself in to police to own up to the civilian deaths on April 10.

    Why did Mr Suthep surrender to the Department of Special Investigations instead of to the police when he was certain to be freed because no charges had been filed against him? Such gamesmanship and leveraging between the two sides have incurred sombre costs in the streets of Bangkok. And why did PM Abhisit withdraw his peace offer and election timetable if he was intent on finding a peaceful exit out of the brinkmanship? This reversal may have strengthened the hand of UDD hardliners and tipped the balance among the UDD leadership towards a more violent outcome.

    Second, should the Abhisit government preside over what its finance minister calls a "healing process" when it has been party to the conflict and is culpable for the dead and injured?

    Early government noises suggest more pacification policies and campaigns to placate the reds in the countryside. But we have been here before. After the Songkran riots in April 2009, Mr Abhisit pledged reconciliation and reform. The consequent recommendations for con stitutional amendments came to naught. Further antagonism and alienation of the reds have partly brought on the Ratchaprasong protests. He and his government had the entire year in 2009 to bridge the divide and bring the red shirts on side, but the result has been the opposite. What can the Abhisit government do this time that they did not do after the reds' rioted in April 2009?

    Third, what now happens to the reds? Having been forcefully dispersed and roundly condemned for the burning of Bangkok, will the rank-and-file reds simp ly go home and sit quietly? For the reds, nothing has changed. They rioted then and now in April 2009 and May 2010. Their grievances remain unaddressed. What they see as injustice, including their systematic disenfranchisement through the judicial dissolutions of their poll-winning parties not once but twice, the banning of their politicians, and the street-based ouster of their elected governments in 2008, persists. Will these claims of injustice be accommodated by the pro-Abhisit coalition? If not, will the reds come to Bangkok in rage again? Or will they resort to underground activities, including an overtly armed insurgency, and establish their own Thailand away from Bangkok in enclaves of the North and Northeast?

    Finally, will the arson and looting of the capital be condemned as vehemently in the North and Northeast as in Bangkok? Will the net effect from the protest and crackdown further divide or begin to reconcile Thai society? More questions will emerge while answers will be hard to come by. Picking up the pieces from the last two months will be arduous, and this is all just a beginning.

    In the eyes of Bangkokians, the reds are disgraced yet again. But the reds may not care because they no longer accept the Thai state such as it is and the political system it upholds, because the system is seen as rigged and stacked against them.

    The onus rests squarely now on the Abhisit government to bring the reds back into the fold beyond Thaksin. Lumping all the reds under Thaksin's long and manipulative tentacles has been a mistake all along. Accommodating the rank-and-file reds and working with their more moderate leaders, including some of the banned politicians from 2007, may offer a way to bypass Thaksin.

    If Mr Abhisit is too compromised and tainted for this task, he should consider his position and make a personal sacrifice to enable others to be put in place for the healing to take place.

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    Unsung heroes of Klong Toey repel red threat

    Unsung heroes of Klong Toey repel red threat
    How security guards, volunteers thwarted violent raids

    Published: 22/05/2010 at 02:13 AM
    Online news: Local News

    What happened on Na Ranong Road near the Bangkok Post office on Wednesday showed that security guards and ordinary people were able to play a role in protecting their neighbours from the violent threats of the more radical red shirts.

    The road off Sunthorn Kosa intersection near Klong Toey Port houses Loxley, Shell Thailand, Post Publishing and local residences in mainly run-down communities.

    After leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship surrendered to the government at Ratchaprasong intersection, the capital became a scene of chaos.

    Radical red shirts targeted the three companies but they were largely saved, thanks to the security guards, especially those at Loxley, and people in the area. Post Publishing, which owns the Bangkok Post and the Thai language Post Today, evacuated all staff through an emergency exit at the Shell compound.

    Loxley was attacked by two giant fireworks, fire bombs and bullets. It suffered slight damage from small fires and broken glass.

    "We had been alerted in advance of the attack. So we fully deployed our guards to protect our place," said Loxley's chief security guard who declined to be named. "But we would not have met with success if we did not have good cooperation from our neighbours, a lovely community living behind us," he said.

    "We also shared information between security guards working at Shell and the Post, which was very important during the crisis period."

    He was referring to the Penang Market community consisting of over 80 households living close to the three companies.

    Since Wednesday, its community leaders have worked closely with Loxley's team of security guards to block over 50 red shirt members riding on motorcycles from entering the area. The community members and guards also worked hand in hand to put out the fire at the building.

    The security guard chief said on Wednesday night at least three checkpoints were set up to check any strangers to ensure people living in the area would be safe from the violence.

    Even on Thursday, about 10 community members wielding steel rods to sticks stood guard near Loxley to make sure no UDD member returned to the area.

    Watcharapon Pamolpol, a member of the community, said the community arranged a team of community guards to closely monitor the situation, especially at night.

    Mr Watcharapon admitted there were many red shirt supporters in the community. But that was not a problem because all had one thing in mind - to make the community safe from outsiders.

    "We were always sending a message to them that [the protest] had ended. Please band together to protect the community," he said.

    Tossaporn Puangsa-ard, deputy leader of the middle-class Klong Toey Nives Residence and owner of Ban Khun Toy restaurant, said villagers were on high alert. They deployed more security guards and monitored the situation.

    The self-defence measures were seen not only at the Penang Market community, but also at the severely hit community at Bon Kai on Rama IV Road near the Lumpini Boxing stadium.

    Samran Srisawat, a 47-year-old Bon Kai resident, said tough security was deployed at the community. Many checkpoints were set up.

    "What we were afraid of most was fire. We were on full alert, even now, to prevent that happening. Each building has its own fire extinguisher to stop a fire before it spreads," he explained.

    Regarding the violence on Wednesday, he said the community worked closely to protect their own.

    They also managed to prevent a group of thugs from setting fire to a 7-eleven store.

    The Bon Kai community is returning to normal and aid is flowing in.

    They now have electricity and running water after being without for several days. Many residents have returned.

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    Taken from a Thai publication and translated...

    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    The Terrorists
    UPDATE : 20 May 2010

    Even though the red shirt rally at Ratchaprasong Intersection ended with Jatuporn Promphan and Natthawut Saikuer surrendering to authorities right before security forces were about to breach their encampment, the conflict was not over. On the contrary, the turmoil has intensified beyond control.

    The lesson that the government and the security personnel must learn from this incident is how to prevent the tactics executed by the hard-line red shirted protestors and their allied terrorists to set the city on fire.

    If there ever will be more rallies in the future, the authorities must prevent rubber tires from being smuggled into the rally site.

    The hard-line red shirts’ tactics have clearly demonstrated they were aiming to inflict the maximum damage to the country at any cost. Many public places, banks and even common residences were targeted.

    The use of these tactics have even spread to other provinces, including Chiang Mai, Pathum Thani, Khon Kaen, Korat, Roi Et, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani.

    These people were so anxious to set fire to anything they could get their hands on, without thinking about the consequences or the sovereignty of Thailand.

    They acted like all of us were not of the same nationality; that we were not Thai countrymen but foreigners. They have caused great damage to the land which our ancestors had protected with their flesh and blood.

    Yesterday’s incident was a reminder of the time when Ayutthaya was seized and destroyed, twice. But those took place during times of war and the people who destroyed the old Thai capital were foreign enemies, not fellow Thais themselves, such as it has happened this time.

    Are some people really willing to sell their national pride for money? Is it true that democracy must only be traded with blood and ruin?

    This will be a valuable lesson and even after today, Thailand will continue its long struggle.

    There is a question that everyone must answer, which is more important: yourself or your nation?

    We all die at some point but Thailand must remain. But the country will only survive if its people are willing to sacrifice themselves and stand united for its development. If they cannot do those contribute, the least they can do is not create more damage like they did yesterday.

    These people cannot cause such destruction and still utter the phrase “I love Thailand”. Ungrateful critizens or terrorists not deserve to call themselves “Thai”.

    Taken from Lieb Kye Column by Mattaya Inma, Kom Chad Leuk Newspaper, Page 2, May 20, 2010

    Translated and Rewritten by Kongkrai Maksrivorawan

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    Again, translated...

    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    Sore Loser
    UPDATE : 20 May 2010

    In the wake of the ongoing riots around Bangkok, many of us Thais have been enlightened, or rather jolted, to face a harsh truth regarding what lies at the center of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship and what it is actually about. Hell broke loose after the leaders of the DAAD called an end to their almost-two-month rally at the Ratchprasong intersection and turned themselves in to police at the nearby Royal Thai Police headquarters. They said they sacrificed themselves in order to save their supporters as troops were closing in on them and the possibility of bloodshed increased by the minute.

    Their pleas for the protestors to return home fell on deaf ears. They actually backfired, adding emotional fuel to the already angry red-shirts. Unfortunately, the violent elements of the red-shirts chose to express their rage loud and clear as they set fire to department stores around the Ratchprasong intersection and other buildings in the Siam Square area. Almost simultaneously, other violent red-shirts on the outer zone launched arson attacks on buildings to create widespread destruction. Among their targets were Bangkok Bank branches, the Channel 3 building and the SET building.

    Veera Musikaphong, Nuttawut Saikua, and Jatuporn Phromphan are credited as founders of the red-shirt movement in the wake of a bloodless coup on September 19, 2006 by the Council for Democratic Reform which removed Thaksin Shinawatra from office. General Surayud Chulanond was appointed the interim premier.

    The three core leaders of DAAD launched the People Channel Television, or PTV, and gave speeches at Sanam Luang to recruit supporters. The movement and PTV worked together against the Council of National Security, which was changed from the Council for Democratic Reform, until a new election was held. The People Power Party, a repackage of the Thai Rak Thai Party, won the election. It allied with smaller parties and formed the then government coalition. In came the administration of Samak Sundaravej and the DAAD took a hiatus.

    The Constitutional Court ruled that income he received from being a cooking show host made him unfit to be the premier. Somchai Wongsawat succeeded him and remained in the power not so long because his party was disbanded for election fraud.

    The middle size parties than shifted their allegiance to side with the Democrat Party and voted Abhisit Vejjajiva to be the current premier.

    This prompted the DAAD to come out and campaign against Abhisit Vejjajiva, who they deemed not only undemocratically elected, but also under the influence of the aristocracy. In order to get people behind them, they came up with causes and promises. The more attractive their promises and conditions sounded, the more masses they gathered. However, for them to say that Abhisit was undemocratically elected was unfounded and their contempt against the aristocrats was too abstract and vague to merit understanding.

    This leads to a notion that the red-shirts weren’t drawn into their cause because of the above conditions. They got behind the DAAD leaders for other motivations which have been widely speculated as either easy money for sitting in or loyalty to Thaksin, or both. The latter seemed to be the most discussed given that in the early stage of the movement, Thaksin regularly phoned-in or addressed his supporters via video link. Not to mention, the majority of the red-shirts come from the northern, the northeastern and the central provinces which are considered to be strongholds of the Thai Rak Thai Party.

    After speculation that Thaksin was the financial lifeline of the DAAD grew, he slowly faded away and started to deny any ties with the DAAD, saying the movement is led by the three core leaders. By stepping back and disowning the movement, in effect, was an attempt to reimage the DAAD in the eyes of the public and the world. He tried to create the image that the movement was born out of genuine calls for democracy and that he had no part in it. However, at key moments of the DAAD movement, Thaksin’s Twitter messages could be interpreted as guidance to the red-shirts.

    The three core leaders were already defeated before on April 13, 2009. The red-shirts wreaked havoc and were dealt with security forces. They took what they learnt from the Songkran mayhem into the readjusting of their strategy and gathered masses at the Pan Fah Bridge on March 12. They really got everyone’s attention when they took over the Ratchprasong intersection and things got increasingly ugly from then on out.

    The government invoked the Emergency Decree to reclaim the Pan Fah Bridge area. Soldiers were killed in grenade attacks and at the hands of snipers. Drawing from the incident, it can be concluded that the DAAD has four elements; the one who pays for the whole scheme from his bottomless wallet, the leaders who recruit supporters and give speeches on stage, the hard-liners headed by late Major General Khattiya Sawasdipol and, lastly, an armed force to challenge security forces.

    Each element rarely got along with others since each side claimed to receive direct instructions from Thaksin, himself.
    The moment Khattiya was taken out by a sniper, the hard-liners and the armed forces united to taunt troops which were closing in on them. The soldiers isolated their fortified encampments, sealed off the rally site and blocked access to food and other necessities in order to force the red-shirts to leave.

    Seeing the demise is nigh, the core leaders contacted a senator who is allies with Thaksin to persuade Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondet to offer mediations of between the government and the DAAD. Of all people, Prasopsuk should be the one who was surprised the most, given the peace talk idea was rejected before by the three leaders. They readily agreed to a ceasefire and violent acts.

    Perhaps their response to the senators' offer signaled the army that they could handle the red-shirts and nothing would get out of control. The soldiers have been able to keep the armed red-shirts at bay in the Bon Kai and Din Daeng areas away from the main rally site. Knowing the core leaders are, by no means, fighters, the army took drastic measures in forcing its way in, breaking bamboo-and-tire barricades at the Sala Daeng intersection and fought with armed red guards.

    The clash ended with one death of a red guard while many of them were rounded up. The first barrier was breached and the troops headed on towards the Ratchaprasong intersection.
    The army's reading was, in part, correct because less than an hour after the troops broke the Sala Daeng encampment, the DAAD leaders turned themselves in at the Royal Thai Police headquarter. However, their surrender didn’t mean a real end to the DAAD as we all already and painfully saw. There are three elements of DAAD left. The mastermind who tries to distance himself from the movement ordered the violent red-shirts and the armed forces to launch a ravage spree in Bangkok.

    Using the two elements to set Bangkok ablaze revealed the mastermind's true colors. For him, if he cannot live here, no Thai can. He said it himself*. The order of turning Bangkok into ruins may be interpreted as a way for him to pin the blame on the government for not dealing with the red-shirts properly, causing things to spiral out of control. The riots also serve as a distraction while the remaining DAAD leaders try to escape legal predicaments. The violent element in the red-shirts became opportunists who looted and destroyed. They acted on the resentment they have towards the core leaders who threw in the towel.

    The surrender of Jatuporn and Nuttawut didn’t bring back peace because they are not the real leaders and are the not ones who have the last say on the red-shirt movement.
    It will take the government some time to deal with the rioters. It is not certain when we will get our peaceful nationa back.

    What is more certain is that rising body count is unlikely to startle the mastermind or cause him some sleepless nights. He already told us that if he cannot live here, then no Thai will be able to either. Need I say more?

    Daily News Page 3, Politics Page, Friday May 21, 2010

    Translated and Rewritten by Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

    *If I can’t live there, then don’t hope that any Thai can live there comfortably.’

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    Again, translated.

    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    New Political Standards under the “Thai Model”
    UPDATE : 21 May 2010

    Rioting following the submission to arrest of the core-leaders of the red shirt protest group actually did not come beyond any expectations or predictions of the situation. Despite announcing that they were turning themselves in to avoid bloodshed and any more loss of lives, the statements of the core-leaders to their gathered masses did not contain any call for them to lay down arms or give up their fight. The omission was enough for the more radical elements of the red shirt group to take to the streets across the nation and stirring up chaos and terrorize Thais nationwide.

    The events that ensued after the end of the Ratchaprasong rally seemed to have been hinted in the days before the leaders turned themselves in. Ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, during his many interviews with international press agencies, commented that Thailand’s conflict would likely last for years to come, alluding to the words of General Theeranun Nanthakwang who said that guerilla tactics would only likely be seen in the next one to two years. It can be believed that such unrest would be in line with the red agenda of making the government fail and forcing upon Thailand intervention measures from the foreign community or organization.

    The international community however seems a step ahead of Thailand’s ill-wishers with major organizations such as the United Nations choosing not to denounce or criticize the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s actions in reclaiming protest sites. What could be regarded as a “Thai Model” has emerged as a method on how to deal with protests. The Thai model focuses on patience, restraint and the administration’s, much touted, commitment to employ incrementally strengthened measures against the protesters. The abundance of evidence pointing to the non-peaceful and outright hateful actions by the red shirt group have also helped boost the image of the administration.

    Another new standard established by the Thai Model that may not be so apparent to the UN and other nations is the fact that House dissolution and a political change are not always needed to overcome conflict. This is an especially key matter for Thailand as it has always seemed to want a either a new government or regime whenever there's a seemingly unbreakable deadlock.

    Ultimately, the success of the Thai Model and the Abhisit government can be seen in the numbers. Early projections of the losses from the resolution of the red shirt protest were that 300-500 lives would be lost. Though any casualty is never good, the latest death toll, released by the Erawan Emergency Center has, is at 52.

    Kom Chad Luek Editorial, May 21 2010
    Translated and Rewritten by Itiporn Lakarnchua

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    As I think DD predicted.......

    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    Italian ambassador applauds Thai government
    UPDATE : 22 May 2010

    During the CRES Press Conference to clarify to 51 ambassadors and diplomats to Thailand at the 11th Infantry Regiment today, the Italian Ambassador to Thailand reportedly commends the Thai government for its handling of the Redshirt protesters and terrorism.

    In turn, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of national security SuthepTheuksuban expressed condolences to the ambassador for the death of an Italian journalist during a clash.

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    #12 is a very good article indeed - specifically it asks questions that few are confronting yet. Well done SD.

    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    First, had the various peace overtures run their course?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    But it was clear that the UDD moderates were intent on standing down. Might more time allotted to them for persuasion of their crowds and bargaining with their opposing hardliners have helped bring a peaceful way out?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    And the failures of earlier olive branches need to be explained.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    What happened to the promising negotiations brokered by Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Why did Mr Suthep surrender to the Department of Special Investigations instead of to the police when he was certain to be freed because no charges had been filed against him?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    And why did PM Abhisit withdraw his peace offer and election timetable if he was intent on finding a peaceful exit out of the brinkmanship? This reversal may have strengthened the hand of UDD hardliners and tipped the balance among the UDD leadership towards a more violent outcome.
    The current wounded pride, bloody mindedness, and general pique on display will not last for ever, and these are questions that need to be put to the 'powers that be'.

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    Interesting, but where are the pics?

    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    6 undetonated carbombs found at Rajprasong, meant to completely blow up the area
    UPDATE : 22 May 2010

    Head Forensic Department Dr Pornthip Rojanasunan disclosed that car bombs were found by security task force in 4 Rajprasong areas. The bombs were put together in a manner almost ready to detonate, she said. Government Spokesperson Dr Panithan Watanayakorn pointed out that they were meant to blow up Rajprasong area.

    Earlier today, Dr Pornthip had found almost 1,000 suspected explosive materials scattered around Rajprasong. DNA cross matching is currently in progress.

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    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    CRES clarifies Redshirt leaders' allegedly privileged detention at Naresuan
    UPDATE : 22 May 2010

    This afternoon, the Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES) announced that arrested former Redshirt leaders are not being treated with privilege as widely accused by the public, after photos of their free lifestyle at Naresuan detention camp were leaked on various websites.

    The Deputy Police Commander and the Deputy Metropolitan Police Commander clarified that the Redshirt leaders who surrendered themselves to the police and are being detained at Naresuan are not yet defendants in a criminal proceeding, but mere suspects of Emergency Decree violation and terrorism. They affirmed the detainees' lifestyle is as normal as that of any other detainees, with their phones confiscated. They said the detainees were put together in the same lodging as there're not enough rooms for each of them. Security around the camp remains tight.

    According to the Emergency Decree, each suspect can be detained up to 7 days, with a 30-day extension, which means that the present nature of the Redshirts' detention is for mere suspects.

    The police added that they will not wait for ex-singer turned Redshirt leader Arisman Pongruengrong who remains at large to turn himself in, but are now hunting him down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    #12 is a very good article indeed - specifically it asks questions that few are confronting yet. Well done SD.

    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    First, had the various peace overtures run their course?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    But it was clear that the UDD moderates were intent on standing down. Might more time allotted to them for persuasion of their crowds and bargaining with their opposing hardliners have helped bring a peaceful way out?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    And the failures of earlier olive branches need to be explained.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    What happened to the promising negotiations brokered by Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Why did Mr Suthep surrender to the Department of Special Investigations instead of to the police when he was certain to be freed because no charges had been filed against him?
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    And why did PM Abhisit withdraw his peace offer and election timetable if he was intent on finding a peaceful exit out of the brinkmanship? This reversal may have strengthened the hand of UDD hardliners and tipped the balance among the UDD leadership towards a more violent outcome.
    The current wounded pride, bloody mindedness, and general pique on display will not last for ever, and these are questions that need to be put to the 'powers that be'.
    I'm not into conspiracy theories, but you have to wonder if the establishment weren't hoping the reds would totally self destruct by creating so much damage and chaos.

    I didn't see a policeman or soldier for days here and they had a few opportunities to retake this area (the morning of the day before the riots there were less than 30 to 40 reds here!!!). Some will say they sat back to avoid possible deaths. Others might say they sat back because they hoped the reds would unleash extreme violence, thereby destroying the movement forever.

    On the night of the riots the governments own emergency number didn't work (I tried calling it for over 4 hours!). The fire brigade just sat back, citing possible danger (I rang them too, even though the fires on Phahonyothin were actually outside the reds area of control!!). The army were so close to the reds as to be able to see everything they did, and intervene if they wanted (and should) but they did nothing (the distance between the reds and army was less than 100 metres), so they must've watched the destruction and mayhem and decided intervention wasn't the plan.......why the hell not?

    Finally, on the night of the riots, the number of reds here had swollen to near a thousand. Now this many people were given free reign to loot and torch the area and then all managed to make a getaway completely unobstructed! That's a buttload of people who disappeared. A highly organised withdrawal if ever I saw one. Why weren't road blocks manned on Viparadi or Phahonyothin? They let the reds go nuts and get away scot free. I came out at 8 am and had a look around the morning after. There wasn't a single red or their possessions here anymore.

    Like I say, I'm not into conspiracies....but a lot of this doesn't add up. Tear gas and water cannons with the threat of being shot would've been sufficient to have cleared the reds here on many occasions. It was never done....I wonder why.

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    So now they are living comfortably? Could someone make up their minds...?

    Police seize mobile phone from detained red-shirt leaders

    Police seize mobile phone from detained red-shirt leaders

    A police spokesman said police have seized mobile phones from all red-shirt leaders being detained at the Naresuan Border Patrol Police base in Hua Hin.

    Pol Maj Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, the spokesman of the police operation command, said the first day of detention might not be effectively monitored so someone might give mobile phones with Internet access to the red-shirt leaders.

    He said the phones had been impounded.

    The spokesman said the protester leaders, especially Natthawut Saikua, were seen living comfortably like living in a resort room, because there are not enough detention rooms at the base.

    He said eight detention rooms are available while there are 40 suspects being detained there.

    The Nation

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    Poor sods probably can't get any Isaan somtam down there.

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    Now this is just unbelievable! Especially the line that protesters didn't have time to set fires. Was this lying sack of shit even in Bangkok? Did he not see the various groups around Bangkok?

    Massive bullshit.

    PT MP: PM should show responsibility

    PT MP: PM should show responsibility
    Published: 22/05/2010 at 03:41 PM
    Online news: Breakingnews

    Prime Minister Abhisit vejjajiva should show political responsibility for ordering the use of force to crackdown on red-shirt protesters by quitting his post, Puea Thai MP for Phrae Worawat Aue-apinyakul said on Saturday.

    The opposition camp’s MP was reacting to the Democrats’ yesterday move to support Mr Abhisit to continue taking office without having to dissolve House of Representatives as promised.

    “The premier must be held responsible for the political violence. Even if he stays on in office, he would not be able to stay in the Thai society.

    “Mr Abhisit will not be able to visit several provinces in the North and Northeast for election campaigns.

    “He also might not be able to launch any campaign in Bangkok as the people got angry because many of protesters were killed”, Mr Worawat said.

    The MP did not believe the red-shirts had set fire to several places in Bangkok as they did not have time to do so.

    They had to run for their lives on the day the troops moved in to crackdown on red-shirts at ratchaprasong intersection, he said.

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    Some TAN tweets, as not all of it is posted as news articles at their website (or if they are, then this is easier)

    Love the call for "The Untouchables" Chalerm to be PM. Possibly the scariest thing I've read today........tells you all you need to know about PT.....

    (For those who don't remember, Chalerm is one of Thaksin's biggest allies....and his son was the one who murdered an off duty policeman, by shooting him in a club full of people, but was mysteriously never held accountable for this very public murder).

    TAN News Network (TAN_Network) on Twitter

    Suthep: curfew lifting question will be determined and announced tomorrow. TR [at]nnanews
    39 minutes ago via web

    Bon Kai is now cleared, roads open on Monday. #manager
    about 1 hour ago via web

    Erawan: 54 dead, 415 injured May14-19. via [at]warakorn_NBC
    about 1 hour ago via web

    Rajprasong all cleared of UDD stage/tents, now cleaned up by BMA, traffic expected to resume Monday. TR [at]news1005fm
    about 1 hour ago via web

    BKK Governor officially invites residents to clean up BKK streets, meet at 9am, King Rama VI Statue, Lumpini Park. via [at]bangkokgovernor
    about 2 hours ago via web

    RT [at]RichardBarrow Canadian journalist Chandler Vandergrift critically injured in Thailand now able to communicate. via [at]suthichai
    about 2 hours ago via web

    51 foreign ambassadors and diplomats now examining confiscated Redshirt's war weapon including M79 at CRES Press Conference at 11th Infantry
    about 2 hours ago via web

    Pheu Thai agree to file lawsuit against PM & 4 ministers for ordering the killings of innocent ppl, support Chalerm as next PM. #ASTV
    about 2 hours ago via web

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