Join 3,372 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


State of emergency in Thailand
September 19, 2006 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Coupfilter: State of emergency declared in Thailand after troops move in. According to Reuters the army are now 'in control'.
posted by ClanvidHorse (53 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
A shock, but not a huge surprise. This had been predicted for some time.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:03 AM on September 19, 2006


A cursory glance at various information sources gives me the impression that the current government was apparently highly corrrupt and that this may be a positive thing? Is that correct?
posted by nightchrome at 10:05 AM on September 19, 2006


I think the main aggravating factor has been the Prime Minister's Thaksin spend policies.
posted by Flashman at 10:05 AM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hmm... I wonder if I can get ahold of the Colonel I stayed with when I was in Chiang Mai for a couple weeks. I'm curious how this is seen internally...
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on September 19, 2006


Coups happen a lot in Thailand. Even if this one is successful, it might not mean much. Anyway, the army has always pretty much been in control.
posted by giantfist at 10:06 AM on September 19, 2006


Brief background information.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 10:07 AM on September 19, 2006


I have no love for Thaksin; he came to power roughly the same time the new constitution was put in place and he had a tremendous opportunity to take the country in a new, progressive and more liberal direction. But instead he seemed intent on rolling back those legal freedoms and continuing to build his already massive wealth. He set the press freedoms back by 20 years by suing any outlet that disagreed with him or dared to criticize him and there's a great deal of evidence that he used his office to secure lucrative contracts for Shin and Shin offshoots.

I'm not sorry to see him gone, but this seems like the wrong way to do it. By such a blatant subversion of the democratic proccess, whoever's in charge now is losing all the credibility the opposition had developed in the last six months.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:09 AM on September 19, 2006


Flashman, if they arrested the Prime Minister, wouldn't they be implementing a 'Thaksin's penned' policy? Seems like not much of an improvement.
posted by empath at 10:13 AM on September 19, 2006


I'm curious how this is seen internally...

I'm not in TH right now, but I'd guess this is seen internally as just another development in the decades-long power struggle between the military-backed powers (the King and a few generals) and the police-backed powers (Thakshin). I think you can view most of the political turmoil in Thailand since the 50s in the context of those two factions battling for dominance.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:14 AM on September 19, 2006


Flashman, if they arrested the Prime Minister, wouldn't they be implementing a 'Thaksin's penned' policy? Seems like not much of an improvement.

Thaksin's in New York, he hasn't been arrested.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:15 AM on September 19, 2006


Good place to follow what's going on, in "real time". The latest:

Update - 00:14, September 20, 2006
Sources report that soldiers have taken control of the Nation Channel, but have left the newspaper alone.

Update - 00:12, September 20, 2006
Rumors are flying to fast at this point. Summing up at this moment it is not clear if pro-or anti-Thaksin forces are making their move now. The same messages that were on TV after Thaksin declared the state of emergency are still playing.

Update - 00:07, September 20, 2006
We have more unconfirmed reports of media outlets being surrounded. No word on ISPs yet.

Update - 23:51, September 19, 2006
Sources report tanks are arriving at The Nation newspaper building.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2006


Didn't Thaksin put one of his relatives in charge of the army to keep things like this from happening?
posted by black bile at 10:23 AM on September 19, 2006


This guy is also blogging the news.

Already some photos up on Flickr.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:24 AM on September 19, 2006


Colin Murphy from FEER is on CNN saying he saw troops taking up positions at the Erawan Shrine. The troops were wearing yellow ribbons or arm bands, signifying their loyalty to the King. Some of the tanks have the ribbons tied on their gun barrels.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2006


Thaksin will address the UN General Assembly later today.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:39 AM on September 19, 2006


re: yellow ribbons/arm bands

Swearing loyalty to the King in Thailand is like saying you're in favor of not eating babies. It's fairly meaningless because no one is going to dare take sides against the King.

It's similar to invoking God in the U.S.
posted by giantfist at 10:49 AM on September 19, 2006


Gen Prem Bringing Arrmed Force Chiefs to Meet His Majesty
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:54 AM on September 19, 2006


Are they still using Patton tanks there?
posted by Flashman at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2006


The Nation has posted this "Statement from the Military Reformist" (presumably done under the pressure of tanks pointed at the Nation building):
There has been social division like never before. Each side has been trying to conquer another with all possible means and the situation tends to intensify with growing doubts on the administration amid widespread reported corruption.

State units and independent organisations have been politically meddled, not able to deliver their services as specified in the Constitution.

The administration is also usually bordering on "lest majest" actions against the revered King. Despite attempts from social units for compromises, there is no way to end the conflicts.

The revolution body thus needs to seize power. We have no intention to rule but to return the power to the people as soon as possible, to preserve peace and honour the King who is the most revered to all Thais.
The Bangkok Post says the coup leader is Army Commander Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2006


This better not effect my pad see ew with steamed tofu.
posted by xmutex at 11:12 AM on September 19, 2006


Nor better it affect my pad see ew with steamed tofu.
posted by xmutex at 11:13 AM on September 19, 2006


Swearing loyalty to the King in Thailand is like saying you're in favor of not eating babies. It's fairly meaningless because no one is going to dare take sides against the King.

True, no one would come out and admit that they oppose the King, but on the other hand I can't imagine Thaksin's people making such a pro-King statement as wearing the yellow.

In contrast, Gen. Sonthi is one of the King's favored generals; he's very close with Gen. Prem, who is the King's right hand man. I would guess this coup was planned by Prem, executed by Sonthi and smiled upon by the King.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:16 AM on September 19, 2006


This isn't one of those end times rapture thingies is it?
posted by basicchannel at 11:16 AM on September 19, 2006


"To be sure, a military intervention to oust Mr. Thaksin is always a possibility, although some—but not all—analysts agree that this seems unlikely at this point. Those with less sanguine views predict that there will be no compromise between the two, and say that this game will produce only one winner and one loser. If this turns out to be the case, then the next weeks and months could see bloody confrontation on the streets of Bangkok and throughout the kingdom."

- A Tug of War for Thailand’s Soul, FEER, September 2006
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:18 AM on September 19, 2006


Wednesday September 20. 1:20 AM - Perhaps to be expected, it is business as usual in the nightlife areas with Dave The Rave confirming that Nana Plaza is raging on as if nothing has happened...
posted by econous at 11:31 AM on September 19, 2006


What's the general breakdown of (pre-coup) power division between the King and PM? Is it similar to Britain's?
posted by mkultra at 11:45 AM on September 19, 2006


Slightly funny slant but still updating and seemingly factual.
posted by m@ at 11:45 AM on September 19, 2006


True, no one would come out and admit that they oppose the King, but on the other hand I can't imagine Thaksin's people making such a pro-King statement as wearing the yellow.

And it strikes me that specifically saying "We're loyal to the King" is pointing to the fact that they aren't loyal to the PM. Like modern Chinese people saying "We love Chairman Mao!" -- the inference of which is "The current regime sucks!"
posted by jiawen at 11:50 AM on September 19, 2006


My father in Thailand just called with the news that their phone isn't working for domestic calls, but the international lines are still working. His wife says Thaksin looted the treasury before he left for New York; I don't know if that's truth or rumor, but I think they'd be surprised to see him return.
posted by Soliloquy at 12:09 PM on September 19, 2006


BBC News: Thai PM 'overthrown in army coup'

From what I understand, Thaksin was as crooked as they come, so I find it hard to muster much sympathy for the version of "democracy" that leaves with him.
posted by gompa at 12:43 PM on September 19, 2006


My thanks to those who are posting news and links to blogs and such. For some reason, I can't stop hitting F5.
posted by QIbHom at 12:50 PM on September 19, 2006


I don't think there's any question that Thaksin was corrupt and no deliberate friend of democracy in the long run. The most recent rating by Freedom House had Civil Liberties at 3 (of 5) and Political Rights at 3 and sinking.

I hope this becomes merely a blip in the modern history of Thailand, as have the several post-Marcos events in the Philippines. Right now, though, this looks a lot more like the end of democracy in Pakistan.
posted by dhartung at 12:52 PM on September 19, 2006


It's similar to invoking God in the U.S.


Love it.
posted by quite unimportant at 12:54 PM on September 19, 2006


My thanks to those who are posting news and links to blogs and such.

Mine as well—I used to live in Thailand and join dhartung in hoping this doesn't turn ugly.
posted by languagehat at 1:00 PM on September 19, 2006


Forbidden:

(1) ที่จะห้ามมั่วสุมประชุมกัน
No Gathering
(2) ที่จะห้ามออก จำหน่าย จ่ายหรือแจก ซึ่งหนังสือ สิ่งพิมพ์ หนังสือพิมพ์ ภาพ บท หรือคำประพันธ์
No distributing printed materials
(3) ที่จะห้ามโฆษณา แสดงมหรสพ รับหรือ ซึ่งวิทยุ วิทยุกระจายเสียงหรือวิทยุโทรทัศน์
No broadcasting
(4) ที่จะห้ามใช้ทางสาธารณะเพื่อการจราจร จะเป็นทางบก ทางน้ำ หรือทางอากาศ
No transportation whatsoever boats cars planes.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:04 PM on September 19, 2006


Excellent summary of events so far from the Nation. (Never thought I would use "the Nation" and "excellent" in the same sentence before, and I'm quite impressed that the Nation is actually still updating. With Thaksin gone will we see the Nation finally return to form?)
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:10 PM on September 19, 2006


Photos of the RTA taking up positions.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:19 PM on September 19, 2006


Anybody heard from soiled cowboy?
posted by bardic at 1:19 PM on September 19, 2006


Flashman: Globalsecurity.org says they have M48 and M60 Pattons, amongst other things.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 1:25 PM on September 19, 2006


"I have to admit the mainstream media, including CNN, have gone overboard with the general mood. The area around the parliament is calm and the guards aren't doing much in the form of stopping people from moving around. Currently everyone is expecting it to be quiet until the morning, but that could change. " - from this blogger.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:31 PM on September 19, 2006


Thaksin is set to give a speech at the UN at 7 p.m. New York time, said Virasakdi Futrakul, the Thai ambassador to the U.S. "We're amending the speech" to cover developments in Thailand, he said.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:37 PM on September 19, 2006


The BBC have just said Thaksin is no longer expected to address the UN.

No doubt he'll retire to Singapore and spend all his ill gotten gains.
posted by the cuban at 2:03 PM on September 19, 2006


I'm due to depart for bangkok in 2 weeks. I'll be watching closely how this develops. I hoping this will pass with out any violence. From what i have read there has been relatively little violence in the past coups; There have 19 coupsin the past 60 years.

I have been following the developments on the Thorn Tree Forum.

Most posters on thorn tree seem to think things will be back to normal in a few days. The advice seems to be that if the airlines are flying then I should go.
posted by Merik at 2:35 PM on September 19, 2006


Merik, I was in Bangkok during the mass demonstrations against Thaksin back in February and March, and if you weren't down in the palaces-and-wats area you wouldn't have noticed a thing. This is a slightly bigger deal, admittedly, but I'm pretty sure you'll have nothing to worry about. The people of Bangkok, more than anyone, will be ecstatic that Thaksin's gone.
posted by gompa at 2:47 PM on September 19, 2006


Gompa, thats good to hear. Also, thanks for all the links everyone. i have been suprised and pleased at the rapid and extensive respone of forums and blogs to this event; they have been full of helpfulness and informative personal experiences.
posted by Merik at 4:09 PM on September 19, 2006


gompa: Would you include Khao San Road in the wats-and-palaces area? Because if you do, then it's not that good an idea for backpackers to head there during political unrest.

(Then again, even in the best of times, it's not always a good idea to stay at Khao San if you aren't the partying / ganja-smoking-backpacker type, so there.)
posted by the cydonian at 6:39 PM on September 19, 2006


Wow, intresting reading that 'gnarlkitty' blog:
#Mobiles and Internet will be shut down in TWO HOURS!!! I need a flight out IMMEDIATELY!
...
# ALL SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES ARE CLOSED!

# Shit man I have a damn nice mobile number and it's AIS! I've been using this number since I was 12! Dun wanna change!!
...
# This is horrible. I'm graduating in like two weeks. TWO FREAKING WEEKS! And now this???? Why am I so lucky?? Wednesday is supposed to be the day for me to complete my missed seminar that you need to graduate and now the Uni is closed!!
....
# Will there be killing? Blood shed?? King, please, you're our savior!
Lots of kinglove on this blog. Ironic, since the king is obviously behind all this.
posted by delmoi at 6:56 PM on September 19, 2006


Wow, it's really interesting to read blogs right out of the country while the coup is happening. Actually pretty cool from a voyeuristic standpoint.
posted by delmoi at 6:59 PM on September 19, 2006


Sometimes I wish tanks would turn up at my newspaper office. Most days, in fact.
posted by bonaldi at 7:25 PM on September 19, 2006


gompa: Would you include Khao San Road in the wats-and-palaces area? Because if you do, then it's not that good an idea for backpackers to head there during political unrest.

Yeah, if there's still unrest, maybe avoid Khao San Road. Though it's its own little bubble, so I can't imagine there being much more than traffic and noise-related inconveniences. Of course, you couldn't pay me to stay on Khao San Road under any circumstances, but chacun a son gout.

The Atlanta Hotel just off Sukhumvit Road is a lovely and reasonably priced place. One soi over from a sex-tourist soi, but otherwise extremely pleasant, walking distance to all manner of amenities (including the SkyTrain), and far from any kind of coup-related what-have-you.
posted by gompa at 11:33 PM on September 19, 2006


I'm a tad more relieved after reading the Jotman blog (a Westerner living in Bangkok), since he is finding relaxed troops and knots of people celebrating. There are many people out on the streets just seeing what is going on, and they seem to feel safe.
posted by dhartung at 12:13 AM on September 20, 2006


A cursory glance at various information sources gives me the impression that the current government was apparently highly corrrupt and that this may be a positive thing? Is that correct?


Wikipedia sez:

Despite widespread but unproven allegations of corruption, the Thaksin government improved Thailand's ability to control corruption. A 2006 World Bank study found that from 2002-2005, Thailand's regulatory quality and ability to control corruption actually got better, with the ability to control corruption improving twice as much as it had during the 1996-2002 period.[48]

Transparency International, also found that Thailand's Corruption Perception Index (CPI) increased during the years of the Thaksin government, i.e., that Thailand's reputation for transparency among business executives improved. In 2003, the CPI was 3.3, whereas in 2005, the CPI was 3.8.[49][50]

posted by dgaicun at 4:57 AM on September 21, 2006


coup photos
posted by the cuban at 2:10 PM on September 21, 2006


« Older Pope asked to convert to Islam....  |  Dwarf Fortress... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments