Planet News Views

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thailand After Nonviolent Military Coup -- People Return to Daily Life

By Scott McLean

In the few short days since the nonviolent military coup in Thailand, the kingdom has begun to set out in a new direction, although at this point that direction remains uncertain. There seems to be differing reports on public opinion, politics and what might happen in the days and weeks ahead.

The National News Bureau Public Relations Department reports that ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra arrived last night in London, England. What he will do next is anyone's guess.

Some political observers speculate as to the ex-prime minister's future and wonder whether he might stage a political comeback, which was brought up in a Reuters news report and later discussed in Bangkok Pundit.

However, a recent public opinion poll in Thailand shows little backing among the people for him to return as prime minister. "A Suan Dusit Poll (indicates) 80 percent of the Thai people like this change", according to a Planet News Views advisor on Thai issues, who lives in Thailand.

"Social problems in the South of Thailand and business problems everywhere in Thailand" and accusations of corruption by the ex-prime minister are among the reasons people wanted change. At the same time, there is strong support for the King of Thailand, "because he is at the center of our Thai people heart. We love the King."

The word "coup" or "coup d'etat" is usually thought of as violent overthrow of a government. However, this military takeover has been characterized as "non-violent", as the person being removed from power, the prime minister, was out of the country and there was no major opposition to the coup.

"It's a safe situation (in Bangkok)... Some people take flowers to the soldiers. Some people take photographs with the soldiers, too." What's more, the military leaders said "They will hurry to give back power to the population.... They said on Thai television, 'do as simple life' or do as always," the Thai issues advisor added.

Wednesday was a holiday in Thailand, and life seemed to go about their lives almost as though nothing earthshaking had occurred. Leisurely activities -- including shopping and eating out at restaurants-- appeared unaffected by what some observers perceive as a potentially life-altering event.

What was happening on Wednesday? "This day many people were in Zeer Rangsit (shopping mall) like a happy day, because many people want this situation to change." For the most part, restaurants were open as well.

While it appears to be calm in Bangkok, people traveling to Thailand are advised to check with their embassy in Bangkok.

U.S. Embassy in Thailand has provided the following details regarding the military coup in Thailand and what people should know concerning the present situation:

"On September 19 a military group calling itself the Council for Democratic Reform Under the Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) seized control of the Thai government and declared martial law. The CDRM banned any political gathering of more than five persons. The CDRM also banned the hoarding of goods or the increasing of the price of goods of any kind. The CDRM announced it will appoint a civilian government within two weeks as the first step to returning the country to democratic government."

For additional information please visit the following website:
U.S. Embassy in Thailand.

Note: Planet News Views advisor on Thai issues contributed to this article


At 9:31 PM, Anonymous FR said...

Thanks for the up-date amd good information on the Thailand story. It is important that the citizens of Thailand have a free and prosperous life.
Thanks Scott for the information.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Hi, Thanks for the nice comment. It's good to know these articles are helpful. I agree with you. I want the Thai people to be free and enjoy their lives.


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