When the military is on top it makes stuff up that almost no one believes but the regime expects the population to accept, no matter how nonsensical the claim.
In a recent report, Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda has claimed that “[a]bout a million people joined the ‘Thai Niyom’ program launched by junta chairman [Gen] Prayuth Chan-ocha on its first day…”.
Gen. Anupong proudly declared that: “In each village, about 100 people joined…. Excluding Bangkok, the number [of people who joined] is nearly one million.”
As the report adds, “[n]o data were provided to support the claim.”
Given that there are some 80,000 villages in Thailand, even excluding Bangkok, the arithmetic seems a bit off. But one million is still a lot of people to mobilize in a single day, even for a military dictatorship. Is it believable?
If it is, then it is an expression of the capacity of the regime to dispatch soldiers to thousands of villagers and round up one million people. This is a frightening demonstration of military power and the capacity that power delivers for reaching down into communities.