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PAD-The "Last Battle"?
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    PAD-The "Last Battle"?

    BURNING ISSUE
    The PAD and the govt are holding the common man hostage
    By Avudh Panananda
    The Nation

    A rethink hasbecome an imperative to put an end to the political turmoil. The struggle between the government and the People's Alliance for Democracy has proved to be a never-ending saga that is futile and a drain on society.

    If the PAD wants to topple the government, then it is evident that the rousing of the crowds has led to nowhere. A much-anticipated uprising remains the elusive goal after six months plagued by a number of bloodshed incidents.

    If the government is sincere about forging reconciliation, then it should start acting in a tangible manner to co-exist with the PAD instead of trying to quash its civil disobedience.

    It is time for all sides to stop the political melodrama and face the reality of how to make the most of the situation in which the rival camps cannot defeat or make one another disappear.

    The entire society is the collateral damage every time the PAD organises a mass rally to heave-ho the government out of office. And Thai citizens are living in unnecessary suspense at every sabre-rattling both by the government and the PAD.

    The October 7 blockade of Parliament ended with a violent crackdown and blood being spilled. Although Monday's siege on the legislative seat has been peaceful, it is likely to reinforce the political deadlock.

    The PAD cannot bring the government to its knees and its continuing protests are like howling winds falling short of developing into storms. The government, in turn, is at its wits' end on how to pacify the PAD-led crowds.

    The government and the PAD both should look to the elections as the contest grounds to fight one another instead of perpetuating the turmoil.

    Even though the PAD claims to have no aspirations for political office, it is entitled to endorse electoral candidates to bring about the political changes as deemed necessary. The government can seek a fresh mandate instead of being a lame duck.

    A snap election will allow rival camps to redirect their fight in a more constructive manner to vie for votes rather than being mired by animosity.

    Should the two opposing sides decide to designate the elections as their new battlefield, a clean break from fractious politics is deemed necessary to pave the way for a free and fair outcome.

    A key issue to be done away with is the fate of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. As a Thai citizen, Thaksin has an inalienable right to pursue his life and justice as per his aspirations. But it is unjustifiable for the PAD and politicians of all stripes to invoke his name to incite the crowds for self-serving gains.

    Politics should be about serving the people's aspirations. The turmoil is persisting because all sides have become obsessed with the rise and fall of one individual leader, allowing it to eclipse society.

    Politicians, be they in the government or the opposition, should try to inspire and advance the country forward. The bickering about Thaksin's legacy is like trying to bring back the dead. For better or worse, the former prime minister is not in a position to maintain a direct presence on the political scene.

    Thaksin is banned from the electoral process. Although he may try to resume his political career, this is not happening any time soon as the expiry of his ban is still four years away. The fuss about Thaksin's leadership is a moot point when the country is in a dire need for leadership to steer through the global economic turmoil.

    The government appears to have alluded to the good old days under Thaksin in order to cover up the fact that it had no fresh ideas to overcome the economic and political woes.

    The PAD seems to cling to its past success of fighting the autocratic leadership of Thaksin. And it is learning a costly lesson that it is about to commit political suicide if it continues with the same old tactics of rousing the crowds.

    Yesterday's turnout for the PAD-led "final battle" was lower than expected. The siege on Parliament achieved nothing and the marches to various agencies, including the temporary seat of government at Don Mueang, appeared lacklustre.

    For participatory democracy to flourish, it is imperative for the PAD to advocate issues with immediacy and relevancy. If the PAD refuses to adjust its tactics and advocacy topics, it is risking a sharp turn of sentiment. The people are beginning to see the PAD as troublemaker instead of a champion to clean up politics.

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    Re: The PAD and the govt are holding the common man hostage

    A game of who blinks first
    By The Nation

    Is the "Last Battle" turning into a game of who will blink first?

    With the government content yesterday with playing mouse for the People's Alliance for Democracy to catch, what was initially dubbed as the most decisive week for Thai politics might end up back at square one.

    The PAD had hoped to muster a crowd massive enough to stun the Somchai government. That didn't happen. Neither did violence that could have turned the tide in the movement's favour. As it turned out, yesterday seemed an ordinary day for Thai politics, which is growing accustomed to sabotage, death and injury.

    Now, what will the PAD do next? Was yesterday a victorious day as the movement declared, or was the alliance outsmarted by the government?

    It depends on how you measure a parliamentary postponement and the reduced chances for charter amendment. Win or lose, the PAD yesterday forced Parliament to postpone an important session, and sowed more seeds of doubts on the government's controversial plan to amend the Constitution. Yet it's a far cry from the movement's ultimate goal of toppling the administration within the next few days.

    Obviously, despite its declaration of victory, the PAD was not satisfied. And predictably, another rallying cry yet was made by one of its key leaders. Chamlong Srimuang said the PAD would step up concerted street campaigns again today, starting as early as 4am. He didn't elaborate, but it was believed protesters would again target key public places, probably with the help of state enterprise workers who may lay down tools or stop certain utility services.

    But what if the government remains calm? The tactic worked well yesterday and the PAD, having anticipated turmoil and thus didn't give importance to logistics, reportedly had to scramble for food for protesters sent to besiege Parliament. What if the government refuses to blink?

    Key PAD leaders downplayed speculation that the movement was provoking violence in order to "end it quickly". "We managed to block their constitutional amendment moves that might scale down powers of the Privy Council and pave the way for Thaksin's return. Of course, we have had a successful day," said Phipob Thongchai.

    Chamlong, who had portrayed yesterday as D-Day, is now saying the real D-Day is today. "What we have done is just a big rehearsal. Everyone will take a rest now and tomorrow we will go places, starting at 4am. If you have a car, bring it here and take other protesters with you," he said.

    Now it appears that the situation has gone back to the "whoever causes trouble first stands to lose" suspense. The government cannot afford more bloodshed. The PAD, on the other hand, can be provocative up to a point, but rioting or vandalising will only undermine its goal.

    Adding Army chief Anupong Paochinda as peacekeeper and the uneasy stalemate is likely to drag on. He has been appointed by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to lead a task force to monitor the PAD's activities in what might prove to be the latter's masterstroke.

    By giving Anupong the responsibility to recommend measures to cope with the PAD, Somchai has given himself a good political cushion. Anupong had come out strongly against the fatal police use of force on October 7 and even made an implicit call for Somchai's resignation. The general is now in an awkward situation, and he, too, cannot blink first.

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    Re: The PAD and the govt are holding the common man hostage

    Protesters told to travel to Don Muang


    Chamlong Srimuang, a co-leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, told protesters to move to rally at the temporary Cabinet office at the Don Muang Airport.

    At 4 am, protesters were told to gather at the Nanglerng stadium to ride buses to Don Muang.

    The Nation

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    Re: The PAD and the govt are holding the common man hostage

    PAD vehicles not allowed to use expressway without paying fees

    Several vehicles of the People's Alliance for Democracy caused traffic snarls in front of the Yommaraj gate of the expressway after the protesters refused to pay toll for using the expressway.

    By 5 am, the protesters failed to negotiate the expressway officials to allow them to pass the tollgate without paying.

    The Nation

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    Re: The PAD and the govt are holding the common man hostage

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    PAD vehicles not allowed to use expressway without paying fees
    Several vehicles of the People's Alliance for Democracy caused traffic snarls in front of the Yommaraj gate of the expressway after the protesters refused to pay toll for using the expressway.
    By 5 am, the protesters failed to negotiate the expressway officials to allow them to pass the tollgate without paying.
    The Nation
    They claimed they collected millions but cannot afford to pay 40/50 baht toll per vehicle?
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    Re: PAD-The "Last Battle"?

    Viva La Revolution! Viva!

    (Small change? Small change for the tollgate, Mr? )

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    Re: PAD-The "Last Battle"?

    Protesters rally before Supreme Command office

    Hundreds of anti-government protesters gather in front of Supreme Command headquarter on Chang Wattna Road on Tuesday despite knowing that there will not be cabinet meeting there.

    They were blocked at the entrance gate of the headquarter. Soldiers guarding at there informed the protesters that there was no cabinet meeting but failed to convince them to leave.

    At first, the army prepared water truck but later moved out. Soldiers deploying along the entrance were not carrying weapons.

    The situation sometime became tense because of the heat. There was no presence of leader of People's Alliance for Democracy at the rallying site.

    The gathering intended to block the weekly cabinet meeting scheduled on every Tuesday. The protesters however gathered in front of the headquarter despite being informed that the cabinet meeting will be moved to Wednesday.

    The protesters rallying in front of the headquarter were those move from the temporary government seat at Don Muang airport which was already seized by the protesters.

    Some protesters travelled to Suvarnabhumi Airport reportedly to block Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat who is scheduled to return from Peru on Wednesday.

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    Re: PAD-The "Last Battle"?

    Protesters disperse from Supreme Command


    Protesters blocking the entrance of the Supreme Command head office dispersed Tuesday afternoon and headed to the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

    Their leaders announced at 4:30 pm that the rally at the Supreme Command would disperse and the protesters would head to the airport instead.

    The Nation

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    Re: PAD-The "Last Battle"?

    PM's plane from Peru delayed: Public Relations Department


    The Public Relations Department reported on its website the plane Prime Minister Somchai would fly back from Peru was delayed due to technical errors.

    The department said its reporter, Saksit Pradabsilp, reported from Peru that a hydraulic lock of a wheel would not unlock preventing the plane from taking off.

    The Nation

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    Re: PAD-The "Last Battle"?

    Somchai's arrival, I presume, being the PAD interest in the airport.

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