Phan Fa Bridge March 25, 2010: Thailand is in danger of becoming a failed nation with a despot government, while the possibility of another coup d’état has increased by 50 percent in the last week.
These were the grim warnings from a group of Pheu Thai Party (PTP) politicians after their passage to Thailand’s Government House was blocked yesterday by thousands of armed troops, concrete barricades and razor wire.
Refusing to bow to what they termed “the intimidatory and aggressive actions” of the Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the opposition members of parliament yesterday refused to traverse military lines to enter the parliament, opting to boycott the house sitting instead.
Representing more than 28 million people, the opposition PTP MPs said the surrounding of the parliament and Chitralada Palace, in addition to having military personnel in the parliamentary chamber, was unprecedented in Thailand’s history and one that should cause every Thai deep concern.
According to PTP MP Thitima Chaisaeng, the deployment of armed troops, barricades, water canon trucks and other military vehicles inside and surrounding the parliament is intended to intimidate opposition MPs, the red-shirt protesters at Phan Fa Bridge and normal Thais.
Describing the current situation as a violation of every Thai’s freedom and rights, Ms. Thitima said the heavy handed approach by the government and/or the military are a direct violation of Thailand’s constitution.
“We demand that the military remove all of the physical barriers and troops from and around the parliament so that normalcy can return and so that the integrity and honour of the legislative branch is returned.”
The PTP MPs questioned whether the military was acting on the instructions of PM Abhisit, or whether the increased military presence and fortifications were a unilateral decision taken by army command.
“Mr Abhisit has been a puppet prime minister since he ran away from the Asean summit in Pattaya last April and has failed to demonstrate any leadership skills. The massive deployment of armed troops inside and around the parliament has all the hallmarking of a coup d’état.
“The actions of the government and military are damaging Thailand’s reputation internationally, detracting investors, unnerving tourists and intimidating Thai citizens.
“The situation has now become a travesty and the only solution is for Mr Abhisit to immediately dissolve the house, return the power to the people and hold fresh elections”, the MPs said.
The MPs said PTP was ready to go to the people and face fresh elections as soon as the house was dissolved and said that irrespective of the outcome, they will abide with it.
Until the military personnel and barricades are removed from and around the parliament the MPs said they will not return to the chamber.
They said that while the government is free to push through Acts of parliament without the opposition being in the chamber, they expected these will be rejected by the Senate and returned to the lower house.