February 4, 2006 protest news

Headlines - February 6, 2006

Thai Rath (above left): The political situation is very hot - a minister resigns - follows Pa-U [Pa U is "Aunt Uraiwan," nickname of Uraiwan Tienthong, Culture Minister who has resigned]

Komchadluek (above right): Waking up millions to collapse Thaksin - Sondhi leads the mob

Komchadluek
(detail, left): These days, every leader is being compared to Hitler...

Matichon (above left): Maew talks impolitely about the the King saying that if the King wishes him to leave, he is ready to leave immediately


Surfers flock to net for news of rally - The Nation, February 7, 2006
[Intersting stats on local websites. 2Bangkok.com gets up to 6000 unique IPs daily.]
Saturday’s February 4 “Liberation Rally” was credited for driving a record number of Thai Internet users to media websites as they sought out real-time updates of the situation...


(Source: Phujatkan, February 4, 2006)

Front page editorial from Phujatkan - February 4, 2006
Thaksin (wetting his pants): 19 million who voted for me, come today to help me.
The people: We are busy because we are going to the King Rama V monument
[to join the anti-Thaksin protests.]

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February 4 protest broadsheet - February 4, 2006

Right and below: Cartoons and explanation from the protest broadsheet explaining the alleged profiteering of Prime Minister Thaksin and his family.



Flyer from the February 4 protest - February 4, 2006

Left: It is time for a new PM. I volunteer to be the new Prime Minister. Dalan Kongkuaboon from [the new political party] "People who want to end the national debt."


More flyers from the February 4 protest - February 4, 2006

Right: Sticker: Who sells the nation?

Below: Police flyer telling people to remain nonviolent at the February 4 protest.

 


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Almost like being there: Sondhi's anti-Thaksin rally - February 4, 2006
Anti-Thaksin protests - February 4, 2006

BANGKOKIAN: Kingmaker returns from the sidelines of political obscurity - The Nation, February 4, 2006
[More code words from The Nation. "The Kingmaker" is Sanoh Thienthong. "The Man" is Thaksin.] ..."I once asked his wife why they needed tens of billions of baht and was told, 'Since politics requires money, and I have to pay a lot, I have to consider it a kind of business'. I once warned The Man, but he went all quiet and acted offended. I can't speak about this within the party. Can't even say it in Parliament. That's why I said [being a member of the ruling party] is like being in jail..."

Left: The Nation front page from February 4, 2006.

Sondhi's protest instructions - February 4, 2006

Right: Rescue the nation - 4 February


ANTI-THAKSIN RALLY: DAY OF RECKONING - The Nation, February 4, 2006
...Ongoing tensions over Thak-sin have led to speculation that there are four directions in which he could head -- stay on in defiance, resign in disgrace, dissolve the House or leave the country...
More on High tension in Thailand

Thai students in Hawaii to protest - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakit , February 3, 2006
Krungtep Turakit reports that Thai students in Hawaii will protest Thaksin on February 4. They also sent an open letter to Phokin Polkul, the Chairperson of the House of Representatives to assure freedom, rights and freedom of the people.
More on High tension in Thailand

Intercepting people - translated and summarized from Nation TV, February 3, 2006
Many people have been intercepted many places [from coming to Bangkok to join the anti-Thaksin protests].
Thaksin said he does not know what to do... If he resigns, what will happen to people who selected him...
More on High tension in Thailand


BANGKOKIAN: Kingmaker returns from the sidelines of political obscurity - The Nation, February 4, 2006
[More code words from The Nation. "The Kingmaker" is Sanoh Thienthong. "The Man" is Thaksin.]
..."I once asked his wife why they needed tens of billions of baht and was told, 'Since politics requires money, and I have to pay a lot, I have to consider it a kind of business'. I once warned The Man, but he went all quiet and acted offended. I can't speak about this within the party. Can't even say it in Parliament. That's why I said [being a member of the ruling party] is like being in jail..."
More on High tension in Thailand

Quotes from Uraiwan - February 4, 2006

From Culture Minister Uraiwan Thienthong resigns, The Nation: "The current political situation is not conducive and I have to uphold the proper political ethics of good governance,'' she told a news conference.

From Uraiwan resigns, undermines Thaksin, Bangkok Post: "I can't understand the current state of political etiquette and morality,"

From Uraiwan told reporters, "A politician must have morals," Komchadluek: “Pa U [Aunt Uraiwan, nickname of Uraiwan Tienthong] left the Culture Ministry’s chair to keep political ethics.“Thaksin doesn’t care. He will set up Mr. Surakiet to maintain the ministry instead [of me]. He went to Klong Toei community and asked people do not to join with Sonthi."

More on High tension in Thailand

Pa U’s [Aunt Uraiwan, nickname of Uraiwan Tienthong] son said she resigned because she is feeling conflicted that her husband [Sanoh] contradicts with Thaksin - translated and summarized from Komchadluek, February 4, 2006
Wang Nam Yen MPs gather at a Muang Thong Thani house to seriously discuss the future of their Group. Meanwhile “Sorawong” [Sanoh and Uraiwan‘s son] pointed she resigned because of feeling conflicted that Sanoh contradicts with PM Thaksin.

More on High tension in Thailand



Thai newspaper websites ready for the protests - February 3, 2006
Manager website (above) and The Nation (below)

Rumors
Shin employees told to leave office afterwork - The Nation, February 3, 2006
Some employees of Shin Corp received mails from the higher-ups in the afternoon to leave office immediately after work, following a rumour that those who are dissatisfied with the company's share sale to Temasek Holdings would storm into the office.
The message was then passed on to other employees who worked in the Shin I Building on Phaholyothin Road. They were informed of the rumour that those protesters gathered in front of the Revenue Department and they would move onto the Shin building
"I don't understand why we have to encounter this," an employee said with watery eyes.
But no protest turned up at the office as feared.

Thai central bank says weaker baht unrelated to politics - Reuters, February 2, 2006
The Thai baht weakness on Friday was due to a stronger dollar and unrelated to domestic politics and a planned public rally against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Bank of Thailand Governor Pridiyathorn Devakula said...


Government denies rumors about February 4 demonstrations - Komchadluek, February 2, 2006
The Interior Minster denied the rumor that the government said an unrest group will take bombs to the antigovernment rally on Saturday, February 4.
More on High tension in Thailand


U.S. Embassy Bangkok: "...please do not approach the demonstrators" - February 2, 2006
Public Announcement from US Embassy Bangkok
Attention American Citizens:
The Royal Thai Police (RTP) authorities have confirmed that a large demonstration is expected to occur in the area of the King Rama 5 statue, Rajdamneon Avenue, near Sanam Luang and Government House in Bangkok on Saturday, February 4. Police estimate up to 100,000 people will gather in an anti-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin demonstration headed by Sonthi Limthongkul, a prominent Thai government critic. The crowd will include several diverse groups of demonstrators and is expected to start assembling in the morning with no announced starting or ending times. Organizers have not indicated a marching route, should they leave the area.
Bangkok demonstrations are usually peaceful in nature, but all demonstrations are unpredictable and conditions can change unexpectedly. The RTP has indicated that 2,000 – 3,000 police officers will be on hand to maintain public order. There are concerns that anti-Sonthi groups may attempt to confront the demonstrators, which could lead to violence. For this reason, please do not approach the demonstrators.
The Embassy encourages all Americans to avoid this area. Should you find yourself in or near the demonstrators, move indoors for shelter until the demonstration has passed, or ask for police assistance to leave the area. While the demonstration is not expected to pass near U.S. Embassy facilities, Embassy entrances and functions may be restricted depending on circumstances.
For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).


The Nation covers the run-up to February 4, 2006

POLITICAL CRISIS: PM defiant as outrage surges - The Nation, February 3, 2006
...An urgent meeting was called at Ban Chan Song La, Thaksin's residence to analyse the political crisis after growing anti-government sentiment from the Shin Corp sell-off.
At the tense meeting, a person known as one who Thaksin respects suggested that the prime minister resign as a pre-emptive move to stop the rally amid fears it could turn violent. He believed that Sondhi could mobilise a formidable crowd in the capital after two weeks touring the provinces to seek support.
The meeting went into detail about which MPs would be best suited and who Thaksin would trust to take over his job.
However, other top party officials wanted more than just a face-lift, arguing a House dissolution was the only way out. They disagreed over the method of having Thaksin resign, reasoning that it would not end the current conflicts because Thai Rak Thai Party would still be running the country...


OVERDRIVE: Thaksin's dilemma: Cash out or stay put - The Nation, February 3, 2006
...Nobody can really predict whether the rally will spill over like the May tragedy in 1992, or whether it will fizzle out like the previous demonstration at Government House. Still, if the political situation were to worsen, Temasek Holdings of Singapore, or other foreign buyers, would not risk buying Shin Corp and Thaksin's window of opportunity to sell Shin Corp would be closed forever. Selling Shin Corp for almost US$2 billion was, as Thaksin said, not as easy as selling khanom kheng. To play it safe, Thaksin decided to seal the deal with Temasek before February 4. It's normal that if you're not certain about the future, you prefer to have cash in hand rather than stocks or other assets...

Analysis: Echoes of '92 as Saturday shapes as day of drama - The Nation, February 3, 2006
...Yet it must be incomprehensible to him that a "just" decision by Channel 9 in mid-September to cancel Sondhi's weekly TV programme -- claiming the media maverick had insulted His Majesty and the monarchy -- might send his administration to the brink of collapse...

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