With apologies to the Monty Python team, is Suthep Thaugsuban the Messiah of the Thai politics, or just a naughty boy ? The government obviously thinks the latter as he plans to get rid of the “Thaksin regime” including current Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra, sister of ex-PM and convicted criminal on the run Thaksin Shinawatra. The DSI ( Department of Special Investigations) has charged him with sedition and insurrection, and frozen all bank accounts linked to the protest movement, but then many people think the DSI is just a tool for doing the current government’s dirty work and is run by a crony of Thaksin.
I’ve seen a couple of the latest protest marches and I’ve got to say that a lot of people think he is the Messiah judging by the crowds that turned up and their reactions. I saw part of Thursday’s march from a Skytrain station and would guess about 30,000 people marched past below me, plus a lot more who came out and lined the street waving flags and blowing their whistles.
Then on Friday I went over to Silom road and got some photos from ground level, where you could feel the emotion of the people who see him as the best chance to end endemic corruption in politicians, officials and the police. It’s a good thing he was surrounded by some burly security guards, as the crowd would have mobbed him like a bunch of teenage girls with a pop star. I was n’t close enough to notice at the time, but when I got home the march was on live TV and you could see that people, from all walks of life, were stuffing money into his hands and into garbage bags. I don’t think there was a request for donations, it was just a spontaneous reaction to the government freezing the bank accounts. It was really quite amazing to see ! According to the newspapers around 8 to 10 million baht was donated.
After the protest had gone past I had lunch, then caught the Skytrain home and walked back to my condo, when I switched on the TV Suthep had only progressed as far as Chinatown, a couple of kilometres further on, because the crowds were so thick.
Some of his opponents portray Suthep as elitist, but there were all sorts of people at the march including some that would normally support the “redshirts” such as taxi drivers in their cabs. And then there were some of the “ladies” from a nearby Patpong transvestite show, like the one on the left.
After Thursday’s march a newspaper had a photo of Suthep sitting on the road, eating the same packed lunch as everybody else …somehow I cannot imagine Prime Minister Yingluk doing that !
Sunday is another big protest day, with marches converging on 15 stages set up around Bangkok, so roads will be gridlocked all over town. Luckily I don’t drive anywhere !
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