Opinion: What if the removal of the emergency decree wasn’t the government backing down but mobilizing royalist forces | By Erich Parpart
Here is a scary thought.
The severe state of emergency decree was lifted not because Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s wanted to back down.
It was actually the first step to revitalize the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and mobilize extreme royalist groups against the student-led pro-democracy movement.
Lifting the decree (unwarranted in the first place} while refusing to let go of prominent protest leaders isn’t taking a step back. It is stalling.
And why have an emergency parliament session if we are not going to talk about the amendments of the charter?
If the special session is only meant for the government to defend its decision to use unnecessary force on peaceful protestors then forget about having it to begin with.
The deadline for him to resign is this weekend and we all know that he is not going to do that, he already said so.
He spent a decade to take control over the army, the entire military, the police, independent institutions such as the Election Commission and the kangaroo court, the junta-appointed senate, the pro-military party leading the current ruling coalition and he has his own junta-drafted constitution.
Why would he and Prawit Wongsuwan resign?
The prime minister, Chuan Leekpai, the house speaker, and Wissanu Krea-ngam, the deputy prime minister, are all stalling for time.
The question we have to answer is why?
Even after the Three Tyrants were toppled in the popular rising of 1973, the military still managed to cook up propaganda and create right-wing paramilitary units that eventually lead to the Thammasat Massacre just three years.
And they are doing it again.
The severe emergency decree and the use of force has seriously backfired on them.
So what else do they have left? Enter the extreme rightwing groups, recruited civil servants, and now, the PDRC.
Actress Nok Sinjai, a prominent figure inside the PDRC, posted the question “are you ready?” on her social media on Wednesday to call on royalists to come and support the institution.
There are already PDRC members out on the streets harassing pro-democracy protestors including groups led by Tossapol Manunrat from Acheewa Chuay Chart, Police Major General Rienthong Nanna, and Suwit Thongprasert who is also known as Buddha Issara. It’s like a PDRC reunion.
They are not out and about to protect the monarchy, they are out and about to intimidate pro-democracy protestors and to protect Prayut.
“If Prayut resign, who will protect the monarchy institution?” asked Rienthong who also said on Thursday that he is willing to use force to harm non-believers and lay down his life to protect the monarchy with Prayut’s guidance.
We will have to wait and see if any more yellow shirts will be mobilized against the pro-democracy protestors over the weekend.
If I have to guess, they will. This playbook has been used before and they’re using it again.