The military junta is a bunch of despicable liars and thugs. This is well known. However, in recent days, their bullying and lying has been targeted in arenas where it has previously said that it wasn’t going to intervene, repress and censor. We posted on one of these a couple of days ago.
The second instance for this week is reported by the Bangkok Post. Readers might recall that there has been a bit of a yes/no response to the notion that citizens might discuss the draft constitution.
As the Post report explains, the Constitution Drafting Committee “has said that it is open to comments and intends to make changes to the draft if necessary before the final version goes to a public referendum.” But, to date, almost all meetings about the draft charter “have been with institutions aligned with the military government.” One suggestion was that comments could be in writing, but it remains unclear how citizens can do anything collectively.
One group of women in the northeast’s Amnart Charoen province decided to meet at a kindergarten to discuss the charter. WeMove “and its northeastern allies were holding a forum on ‘The voice of Isan on the draft charter’ with 75 participants from 13 provinces…”.
It is reported that “[f]our soldiers registered as participants, took pictures of the event, including [of] each organiser and the speakers, before citing an order from provincial governor Yingyos Thanachan to close the forum shortly after it started.”
The forum then moved to another venue at a local hotel. The soldiers followed and “banned it again, this time on grounds that it was being held without prior permission.”
The interesting aspect of this is that WeMove is a middle-class outfit, not necessarily anti-military or anti-charter, having “staged an earlier meeting in Bangkok, with the blessing of the charter drafters and attended by CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan.”
Sunee Chairos, the WeMove coordinator, and formerly with the National Human Rights Commission, “said she was shocked when the authorities appeared and ordered the forum to end in five minutes.” Sunee declared that “our group is doing is not against any law…”. WeMove issued a “statement demanding that the NCPO show responsibility and calling on the regime to end rights violations.”
It is this kind of blundering repression that makes the regime look ridiculous, shows it as made up of liars and repressive thugs.
Losing the middle class will be its downfall, because they were the ones with whistles. They are the ones who feel the military owes them something and certainly should allow them a voice, even if the lower classes are repressed.