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Published On: Mon, Jan 13th, 2014

Thailand: “Occupy Bangkok” Begins

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Hundreds of thousands of protesters, hundreds of vehicles permanently occupy intersections across Bangkok in opposition of Wall Street-backed regime.

ATN ,The fourth, and largest mass mobilization yet by protesters seeking to rid Thailand of unelected dictator Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxy regime, has filled the streets of Bangkok with hundreds of thousands of protesters, turning sections of the city’s roads into walking streets, campsites, stages, and protest areas. 

bangkok_1_thaiThe atmosphere was festive throughout the day, attracting huge numbers of people despite a campaign of threats and deadly terrorism by the regime in attempt to scare crowds away.

Protesters are demanding a series of reforms before elections are held, including the complete removal of Thaksin Shianwatra’s political machine. To understand  why protests are drawing such immense, sustained crowds it would help to understand who Thaksin Shinawatra is and what he has done to Thailand.

bangkok_2_thaiWhat Did Thaksin Shinawatra Do?

  • In the late 1990’s, Thaksin was an adviser to notorious private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. He pledged to his foreign contacts that upon taking office, he would still serve as a “matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. It would represent the first of many compromising conflicts of interest that would undermine Thailand’s sovereign under his rule.
  • Thaksin was Thailand’s prime minister from 2001-2006. Has since dominated the various reincarnations of his political party – and still to this day runs the country by proxy, via his nepotist appointed sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.


  • In 2004, he oversaw the killing of 85 protesters in a single day during his mishandled, heavy-handed policy in the country’s troubled deep south. The atrocity is now referred to as the “Tak Bai incident.”
  • Also throughout Thaksin’s administration, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claimed in its report, “Attacks on the Press 2004: Thailand” that the regime was guilty of financial interference, legal intimidation, and coercion of the press.

What Have His “Red Shirt” Followers Done?

In addition to carrying out armed insurrection in both 2009 and 2010, Thaksin’s “red shirts” have carried out a campaign of violence, terror, and intimidation designed to keep Thailand’s “silent majority,” silent for years:

Image: While the regime and its Western backers claim violence in 2010 was the result of a brutal, unprovoked military crackdown on "unarmed" protesters, in reality Thaksin Shinawatra deployed some 300 armed mercenaries onto the streets to augment his "red shirt" supporters. Weeks of gun battles involving the above pictured "men in black," would result in 92 deaths.

Image: While the regime and its Western backers claim violence in 2010 was the result of a brutal, unprovoked military crackdown on “unarmed” protesters, in reality Thaksin Shinawatra deployed some 300 armed mercenaries onto the streets to augment his “red shirt” supporters. Weeks of gun battles involving the above pictured “men in black,” would result in 92 deaths.

  • In 2009, in addition to large-scale street violence visited upon Bangkok which saw two shop keepers shot while bangkok_7_thaitrying to stop red shirts from looting their businesses, red shirts would violently disrupt an HIV/AIDS awareness march organized by homosexual & public health activists. “Out in Perth” reported in their article, “Chiang Mai Pride Shut Down by Protests as Police Watch On,” that organizers were locked inside a building while red shirts began throwing rocks and yelling abuse through megaphones. Police looked on until organizers decided to call off the event.

Why Are Elections are Currently Impossible? 

The regime and its Western backers insist that the solution to the current political impasse is an election. Of course, this is impossible because the current regime is openly run by Thaksin Shinawatra, a convicted criminal and fugitive who was neither on the ballot nor even in the country during last elections, and will simply resume control of the nation after any future election in which his proxy party wins.

While Thailand is technically under the premiership of Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, by his party’s own admission, Thaksin is still literally running the country. The election campaign slogan for the last general election in 2011 was literally, “Thaksin Thinks, Puea Thai Does,” Puea Thai being his political party. Forbes would report in their article, “Thaksin in Exile: Advising Sister, Digging for Gold,” that:

Regarding his behind-the-scenes role in the party and policy, he is not shy: “I am the one who thinks. Like our slogan during the campaign, Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts.”

The New York Times admitted in an early 2013 article titled, “In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype,” that:

For the past year and a half, by the party’s own admission, the most important political decisions in this country of 65 million people have been made from abroad, by a former prime minister who has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape corruption charges.

The country’s most famous fugitive,Thaksin Shinawatra, circles the globe in his private jet, chatting with ministers over his dozen cellphones, texting over various social media platforms and reading government documents e-mailed to him from civil servants, party officials say.

The NYT piece would also report:

“He’s the one who formulates the Pheu Thai policies,” said Noppadon Pattama, a senior official in Mr. Thaksin’s party who also serves as his personal lawyer. “Almost all the policies put forward during the last election came from him.”

Image: The New York Times openly admits that Thailand is currently run by unelected convicted criminal/fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. Clearly any proxy government or elections in which it participates in are illegitimate by both Thai and international standards. Thaksin's foreign ties are what have afforded him impunity regarding an otherwise cartoonish, 3rd world dictatorship.

Image: The New York Times openly admits that Thailand is currently run by unelected convicted criminal/fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. Clearly any proxy government or elections in which it participates in are illegitimate by both Thai and international standards. Thaksin’s foreign ties are what have afforded him impunity regarding an otherwise cartoonish, 3rd world dictatorship.

There is no question that an accused mass murderer and convicted criminal hiding abroad from a 2 year jail sentence, multiple arrest warrants, and a long list of pending court cases, is illegally running Thailand by proxy. Being unelected, Thaksin Shinawatra is by all accounts a dictator, and his “government” a regime, however cleverly they try to dress it up.

Elections in any other country featuring a convicted criminal openly running a contending party would be unacceptable – and in Thailand as well, they are equally unacceptable until after reforms that prevent such a scenario from occurring again.

The Illusion of Thaksin Shinawatra’s “Popularity” 

Thai_election_2010While the regime and its Western backers continue to claim they represent the majority of Thai people, it should be remembered that the final tally conducted in 2011 by Thailand’s Election Commission showed that Thaksin Shinawatra’s proxy political party received 15.7 million votes out of the estimated 32.5 million voter turnout (turnout of approx. 74%). This gave Thaksin’s proxy party a mere 48% of those who cast their votes on July 3rd (not even half), and out of all eligible voters, only a 35% mandate to actually “lead” the country.

In a 2010 Asian Foundation report titled, “Survey Findings Challenge Notion of a Divided Thailand,” it was revealed that a meager 7% of Thailand’s population identify themselves as being “red,” with another 7% describing themselves as “leaning toward red.” The survey also revealed that by far, most Thais constitute what is called the “silent majority.” The survey included multiple questions that explained the leanings of this silent majority.

For instance, regarding violence that erupted when Thaksin Shinawatra attempted to seize back power in 2010 with large street mobs augmented by armed mercenaries, only 37% blamed the government, 40% squarely blamed Thaksin, 4% held both sides responsible, and the remaining 19% weren’t sure. 62% found the army (which ousted Thaksin in 2006, and restored order in Bangkok both in 2009 and 2010 after pro-Thaksin mobs turned violent) as an important independent institution that has helped safeguard and stabilize the country.

Graph: Up from 62% the year before, the public perception of the military as an important independent institution stood at 63%. Even in in the regime's rural strongholds, support stood at 61%. The only individually polled group that did show majority support for the military, was the regime's tiny "red" minority, but even among them, 30% still supported the army.

Graph: Up from 62% the year before, the public perception of the military as an important independent institution stood at 63%. Even in in the regime’s rural strongholds, support stood at 61%. The only individually polled group that did show majority support for the military, was the regime’s tiny “red” minority, but even among them, 30% still supported the army.

Toward the End Game 

Peaceful protesters will continue to defy the illegitimate proxy regime of Thaksin Shinawatra until it crumbles under a withering undermining of its authority, legitimacy, and operational capacity to administer the country. The regime is expected to continue its use of violence and terrorism in attempt to intimidate protesters, but its fear of spurring the military to intervene means that it most likely will never be able to muster enough force to break the growing momentum of dissent against them.

For now, protesters are well entrenched in the streets and can easily last at least 3-4 days. In 3-4 days, they will be fully prepared to stay much longer. There is a golden opportunity for the protesters to form a “shadow government” to begin administering areas they have now retaken from the regime. Administering these areas publicly and attending to the needs of businesses and residents who may be affected by the protests would further undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the current regime – who already spends much of its time hundreds of miles to the north of Thailand in the city of Chiang Mai

As reported many times before, current anti-regime protesters are not trying to end “democracy.” They are simply trying to end the abuse of the democratic process by an overt criminal. Elections must be carried only after Thaksin Shinawatra and his entire political machine have been safely and completely dismantled.

AltThaiNews Network

Article in Thai language. ประเทศไทย : การยึดกรุงเทพฯ เริ่มขึ้นแล้ว!!!

Related, follow-up article:

Reform in Thailand an Investment in Democracy, National Coherence, and Security

Follow our in depth coverage of Thailand with News, Analysis and Opinion in nsnbc international.

About the Author

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Displaying 24 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Orawan says:

    Thank you for reporting the accurate news. Other news such as New York Times has been reporting news favoring Thanks in regime because they got paid to do. Unfortunately, we still have good reporter such as NSNBC left. ….from Thai citizen.

    • Apiwat A. says:

      At last , the truth about the current political protest in Bangkok has been revealed by some one who trully know the facts that lead to its current protest in Thailand. Those who still unclear about the current situation, please read over again why million of Thais come out to the street and protest. Simply because they want a change for a better life , equality and a better life for their children.I salute NSNBC who bring this up to the world.
      Apiwat A

  2. Supoj M says:

    Thanks for reporting the truth despite the political and many other paid-media influence. The free-to-air tv and radio channels in Thailand have already been bought and not only showing only the news supporting the government,but also the un-true story accusing those who against the government.

  3. Mirin Bartle says:

    Thank you for the truth most people especially foreigners are not aware of. Thaksin’s regime is the most vicious, corrupted and dictatorial. Thai people are under this regime for a decade and they will not tolerate any longer. Like you said in the last paragraph, we are not demanding for less democracy but we try to reclaim a true democratic value.

  4. Amara Patta says:

    thank a million to this report, at least, truth can be viewd, while the main english correspondents hardly understand what is going on in Thailand.

  5. Sroongap says:

    Well-done reviewed.

    When this government was towards wrong political steps ..

    Democratics Party (opposition) had gained enormous “swing votes”. Instead, democrats boycotted the election. Flipped over the checkerboard.

    The rally has then gone wild. Out of control!

    Now the momentum seemingly backup the govt again. The problem that we never addressed is the dysfunction and greed of our opposition party.

  6. May Chan says:

    Excellent article and a true analysis to the current situation in Thailand. It is about time for the international community to see that this protest/movement is not about color, social status, financial wealth but it is about corruption.

    A government that came into office through election fraud (in Thailand, it is vote-buying) should not be considered democratically elected. In other “democratic” countries, such as USA or other European countries, what happened if the candidate is found to be buying votes? They would be eliminated from election and in fact, jailed. And these candidates will never ever see the light of future elections and this is how you can consider a government elected into office as democratically elected. However, in Thailand, the judgement for election fraud, such as vote-buying is made after the government is formed. And these candidates can fill their vacant position with members of their family, and continue to work behind the scene. As a result, do you still considered this government as democratically elected.

    Also, in most democratic countries, politicians found guilty of any wrongdoing will take responsibility and resign from their post. But only in Thailand, the man who ordered the burning of Bangkok in 2011 can be Minister in the Thai Government. Do you still call this government “democratically elected”?

  7. Tida says:

    Thanks for written this article. Finally, the truth is reveled. :)

  8. MrTukk says:

    One of the best review about Thai Politic,Thanks for your professional practice!

  9. A very big Thank you from all our heart of the Thai people that REAL JOURNALISM is still alive.

    Just to add this that Thaksin and the red shirts have countlessly violated lese’ majeste’ in a strong constitional monarchy country and stepped on the heart of all Thais. (shown in various red shirt videos). The King has done nothing but good to help the Thai people all his life. Thaksin also cooperated with the ex-communist for his red shirt party.

    Thank you once again!!

  10. Peter Coombs says:

    This is as detailed a list of grievances as I’ve seen. Several problems. Your implication (based on a very questionable 7% of the population being red shirts) that Pheua Thai doesn’t represent Thai voters is just bad. They demolished the combined opposition in the last elections. The opposition has had a very long time to plan rebuttals to all the abuses and the alleged complicity by foreign governments, but just haven’t been able to come up with a plan… I wonder why? OK, OK, I hear the claims of massacres of innocents in the drug war. (Might some of the indignation be caused by some loss of income to important opposition figures?? – Just sayin’ – )
    All that said, here is what scares me most about this – and it’s my concern for Thailand that is foremost in my thoughts: the country needs to be able to pull together to keep its head above water in the very highly competitive world that’s coming soon. No compromise? The risks of failure increase. There are lots of people out there who are of very sound mind who have offered a range of ideas that would help find a middle ground, but it sounds more and more, every day, that it’s the Democrat way or the highway, and that’s no way to preserve all the good that is Thailand.
    Finally, please don’t interpret this as support for the Thaksin regime or their methods. But, truth be told, again, the real crux of the matter is that some (many?) of his methods are extensions of what has always been a part of the political/social/military/economic climate – he’s just taken it to extremes. But he learned from experience, didn’t he?
    Again, all that said, criminal activity should be punished (in a court of law).
    Finally, compromise on the part of the “mob” and it’s leaders could begin by stating some of the good things that have come from his years, and detailing how the powers behind Uncle Suthep will build on those positives going forward.
    I am a farang, of course, but lived in Thailand for many years, and I love the country, her king and all its people very much. So, I’m very glad that the demonstrations have been peaceful (and pray that they will stay that way regardless of any provocations that might arise), and, ultimately, have faith that you will work things out. Good luck…

    • Sam Ing says:

      Excellent comment and idea.

      It’s an honor to have a farang who loves Thailand so much he shows it in writing in an open forum.
      I’m sure we ‘ will work things out ‘ as in the past.In the meantime, please treat Thailand as democracy in progress, or that long lasting democracy must be earned by, not forced on, the Thai people ourself.

  11. Atikan says:

    Excellent article.

    Thank you !

  12. Duanghatai says:

    THANK YOU Soooooo muchhh….=^___^=

  13. Seizhin says:

    Accurate. I’m an expat who lives in Thailand for about 10 years. I’m aware of the situation but it seems that other international reporters seems to favor Thaksin.
    Whatever the reason, I just want the truth to be spread.

  14. Krit Wit says:

    Thank you for your information. There are numbers of presses take side and never inform the reason why the yellow shirted and whistle blowers do. Is is only democracy in their views. To my understanding,the political world is much complicate and there must be a reason of being against voting. I believe that my foreigners who visit Thailand know this, though many insist that the red-shirted are doing for democracy. I hope the journalists, particularly in the developed countries, should give the right information to the world, like you. It will be really motivating Thai Democracy.

  15. Aom says:

    Thank you so much for telling the truth!!

  16. Chaisak says:

    Very good and in-dept analysis of the situation and facts of what is happening in Thailand. I also learn something new on the pre-historical evilish act by Mr. Thagsin.

  17. Thank you so much for publishing this. It is very good article. The truths are revealed to the world. Some parts in this report I have never seen before. I get to learn more about Thanksin Shinnawatra from here.

    Thank you so much ^.^

  18. bamy says:

    maybe someone should reveal something about Cambodia as well.. outsiders need to know the truth

  19. You are one of the few impartial journalist left. Thank you for presenting the truth to the world.

  20. Anti Thugsin says:

    Two thumbs up! About time someone painted a matter-of-fact picture of the people’s political struggle against the evil regime and delivered a slap in the face of the mainstream foreign press that’s conspired to slander the protests. Yeah!!!

  21. Sam Ing says:

    Bravo and thank you ! Best analysis of present protest movement in Bangkok by any media, anywhere.
    As an expat Thai who has been living in Los Angeles for many, many years, I found it outrageous,unforgivable and outright horrendous foreign journalists reported the ‘shutdown Bangkok’ protest without so much as basic and backgrounbd facts concerning the main character and culprit behind the whole movement : Thaksin Shinawatra, tha former Prime Minister of Thailand and presently fugitive who was convicted and sentenced to jail by a Thai court of law.

    So, what are the facts concerning present protest ? I suggest the followings :
    —read and understand this article. It’s the best researched, very balance and best written (so far) regarding the CAUSE of conflict in Thailand and…
    —for on the location (and very balance) opinion, please read the well reasoned comment by Mr Peter Coombs above.

    Again, thank you,sirs for your excellent report. At a time like this, I’m sure, many Thais feel we’re at least understood by some ‘ farangs ‘ (foreigners) as reasonable, intelligent and at least democratic or understand the concept of democracy well enough not to protest just to have no election.

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