The Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) has expected that about 30,000 supporters would show up in the upcoming mass gathering of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD).
CAPO and National Police Spokesperson Police Major General Prawut Thavornsiri admitted that the CAPO is worrying over the upcoming mass rally since scores of UDD supporters are anticipated to join in the demonstration on 12 March 2011.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau, therefore, has been tasked with negotiating with UDD key leaders on the setting up of police checkpoints around the protest areas in order to prevent ill-intentioned people from bringing weapons into the rally site in a bid to trigger violence.
The UDD has already confirmed that all seven recently released UDD key leaders will speak on stage on 12 March while ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be making a video-link talk with his supporters.
On behalf of the CAPO, the spokesperson has advised the UDD co-leaders that they should speak appropriately and avoid breaching bail conditions prescribed by the court; otherwise, their bails could be withdrawn.
As politics and economy have become increasingly interwoven, analysts have voiced concerns that the domestic political situation will unavoidably drag down the national development, tripping the country off the global economic competition track. They encouraged that all sides should help draft plans to deal with the global changes in the next decade.
Former Vice Minister for Commerce Dr Suvit Maesincee stressed that the domestic political uncertainty was, in his view, the most important risk factor to drag down the national economy obstructing continuity of the trade and investment strategic formation. He hence suggested that the public, private and civil sectors should have important roles in pushing forward Thai trade strategies in order to cushion global changes in the next decade; otherwise, the Thai market’s share might be affected.
The red shirts violent campaign last year, whether it was a real grass-roots uprising as the movement claims or a Thaksin Shinawatra-sponsored agitation as alleged by the Democrat government, has brought to light the issue of economic inequality in Thailand. This forced the government, academics and civil society to look back on long-forgotten problems, one of which is the poverty associated with being landless.
Many have tried to link the political divisiveness to socio-economic disparities. This is highly misleading. The divisiveness is really only around one person, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, the currently fugitive former Prime Minister. To most people, Mr. Thaksin evokes strong emotions, they either adore him or despise him. There are families in all segments of Thai society where husbands and wives cannot discuss politics or Mr. Thaksin, as this can quickly lead to family break up. This is similarly true for many siblings.
Thai politics will remain divisive for some time. Talks of reconciliation are just red herrings. How can one reconcile black and white? Fortunately, there will be a general election in 2011. This should reduce the risk of another major protracted street protest as the various political factions need to position themselves to win votes in the election, and causing major public inconveniences is a sure way to get a backlash in the polling booths.