Thailand’s military junta has again “saved” the nation. That’s at least what the brave men in seats will be thinking to themselves. They think they have prevented an April uprising that was to begin with the distribution of thousands of 10 baht red plastic water bowls.
Prachatai reports that “[m]ilitary and police officers searched the offices of Pheu Thai party politicians in northern Thailand and confiscated the red bowls inscribed with Thai new year greetings from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” The 30 or so loyal troops of the “15th Cavalry Infantry of the northern province of Nan and police officers searched three offices of former members of the parliament from Pheu Thai party in Muang, Pua, and Wiang Sa Districts of the province.”
Just in a nick of time, it seems, to prevent the distribution of the plastic dippers that would have undermined the military junta, monarchy and ruling class. The revolutionary slogan emblazoned on the small bowls and under Thaksin’s signature was: “Although the situation is very heated, may all brothers and sisters receive cool bliss from this bowl with love and care. Happy Songkran Day.”
The Bangkok Post has this photo (right) captioned “soldier guards the evidence after loading it onto a military truck in Nan province on Saturday…”. Evidence of what, we aren’t sure. The Dictator’s personal hatred of Thaksin, the fear red shirts instill in the junta, authoritarian paranoia or all of these. The raid was on the house of Sirintorn Ramasut, a former PueaThai Party MP and netted almost 9,000 of the incendiary plastic bowls.
Apparently, a some 1,500 more red dippers “were later rounded up and removed in a raid on the office of another former Pheu Thai MP for Nan province, Cholnan Srikaew.” For the military junta, this will be “evidence” of a revolutionary red conspiracy.
Try as we might, we cannot find a clear statement of which law the former elected parliamentarians have broken, although the Bangkok Post does state that the first person caught with red revolutionary water dippers was “charged with sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code…”. Sedition is a law that is regularly and repeatedly used by dictators and authoritarian regimes to lock up political opponents.
One comment was that the former MPs may have engaged in action that “violates Article 116 of the Penal Code: sedition.” However, the report adds: “It’s unclear at the time of publication if the two MPs will face charges as the red buckets had not been distributed.”
It seems the upright men leading these raids stated that “giving away the buckets offers an unfair political advantage to the party…”. In what, we are unsure.
At the same time, self-appointed premier and dictatorial leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has “explained” that the woman known as Theerawan Charoensuk (known as Pa Wan) was “arrested because she had shown support for Thaksin, a fugitive who broke the law, and such an act compromised internal security.”
Whatever the charges will be, we are sure the military junta will brunch today telling themselves that they have saved Thailand, again. This time from the revolution of the red dippers and another dastardly plot by Thaksin to bring down the country one bowl of water at a time (presumably a deliberate attempt to make the drought worse).
More seriously, it seems that the paranoia of The Dictator and his junta know no bounds. Today it is apparent that Thaksin, his name, image and words are now illegal in the junta’s Thailand. What’s next? Book burning?