It’s a terrible thought but the fact that Thais are talking about the possibility of ‘civil war’ is extremely worrying. Thailand’s politics are a mess and the Country has a history of coups,19 in all since 1932. So the people, generally, don’t seem too fazed about it as it has happened so frequently. But Thais have a habit of keeping their innermost thoughts and feelings close.
The latest news I have from Phuket and a direct link to Chiang Mai is that people are carrying on as normal outside the capital Bangkok. People, who are aware of it (as TV is off), observed the curfew between 10pm and 5am last night. I was up early this morning and the only difference I noticed was that 7-Eleven’s were closed! There is no military presence here in the south of Phuket.
It’s difficult to understand why, when Thailand’s Army Chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared Martial Law on Tuesday and brought the political parties together, he only allowed 2 days for a solution to be found before instigating a Coup. I can only surmise that it was just a symbolic gesture and that the Coup was always the intention.
The only information we can get is via the internet as all the TV and radio stations have been shut down. It appears that the politicians who were detained by the Army when the Coup was announced are still in detention. BBC News Asia are doing what they can to keep us informed. Here is the latest from them and Reuters.
Unlike the Coup in 2006, which was largely unopposed, this time the government supporters (Red Shirts) are warning of possible confrontation and even ‘civil war’ if democracy is not restored quickly and early elections are not held. I am not surprised by this as only last month, following the disruption of elections in February, I talked with several well informed Thai’s in the North who believe ‘civil war’ could be a serious threat this time.
We can only hope that common sense will prevail and order will be restored soon so that the people of Thailand can continue to live in peace.