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06BANGKOK1945 THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE: THAKSIN LOYALISTS FIGHT BACK

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“58873″,”3/31/2006 10:35″,”06BANGKOK1945″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

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FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7595

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

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SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 001945

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE: THAKSIN LOYALISTS FIGHT

BACK

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Alexander Arvizu reason 1.4 (b)

(d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: In Chiang Mai, around one thousand agitated

Thaksin supporters disrupted the Democrat\’s planned rally

last night, forcing the Democrats to cancel the rally amidst

flying rotten eggs and cries to \”get out.\” Meanwhile, in

Bangkok, heavy rain poured on People\’s Alliance for Democracy

(PAD) supporters camped in front of the Election Commission

(EC), dispersing many but prompting others to dance in the

rain. The Central Administrative Courts ruled yesterday that

pens should also be used in addition to the new, EC-required

rubber stamps, addressing some of the concerns about fraud

during the April 2 elections. End summary.

 

SIGNS OF THINGS TO COME?

————————

 

2. (C) Democratic Party leaders were greeted by 1,000 to

2,000 pro-Thaksin loyalists blocking the entrance of their

planned outdoor rally last night in Chiang Mai. Democratic

leader Abhisit\’s speech was drowned out and cut short by loud

jeers and angry shouts for him and other party leaders to

\”get out\”; protesters burned Abhisit and key PAD leaders in

effigy. Abhisit was finally forced to cancel the rally when

the event turned violent and protesters began to pelt the

speakers with rotten eggs and plastic chairs. (Comment:

Chiang Mai (septel) notes that suspicions have fallen on the

brother of a TRT MP and former mayor as the organizer of the

mob. End Comment.)

 

MONSOON ON PAD\’S PARADE

———————–

 

3. (C) In Bangkok, the PAD crowd marched from the business

district of Siam Square to besiege the EC headquarters

yesterday, demanding that the EC to cancel the April 2

election and calling for the resignation of the EC panel in

general. The EC did not receive their letter of demand and

shut their doors to the protesters. The PAD was preparing to

camp out in front of the EC last night when the first of

Bangkok\’s monsoon season rainstorms began. The rain sent

many demonstrations scrambling for shelter while the PAD

leaders attempted to keep the movement going by turning to

open songs on stage and prompting the crowd to dance in the

rain. But as the rain subsided, only the hard-core Dharma

Army demonstrators remained on site. In the meantime, the

PAD announced today that they will regroup for another mass

demonstration to Government House on April 7, following the

election on Sunday.

 

YOU GOTTA VOTE, YOU GOTTA EAT

—————————–

 

4. (C) At a dinner for invited foreign election observers

(including the US, Japan, India and the ASEAN members) on

March 30, a subdued EC Commissioner Virachai described his

\”escape\” from the PAD barricade earlier in the day by riding

in disguise on a motorcycle. Virachai acknowledged to the

assembled officials the uncertainty lying ahead after the

April 2 polls. Virachai stated to Poloff that the EC will

hold follow-up polls in constituencies where only one

candidate runs and receives less than twenty percent of the

eligible vote. As of the evening of March 30, there were an

astounding 278 constituencies of 400 where only one candidate

was running due to disqualifications. If the reruns are

inconclusive, then additional polls could be held.

 

5. (C) Citing the earlier resignation of a TRT party list

candidate, Virachai noted that the EC was looking at the

Constitution to determine if seating less than 100 party list

MPs would be allowable. He also said that EC is

investigating allegations that the TRT provided money and

other assistance to support fraudulent applications by

candidates from smaller parties. Virachai said that it was

impossible for the investigation to conclude before the

elections as demanded by Thaksin\’s opponents. He predicted

that preliminary vote results should be available on Monday,

April 3.

 

PENS ARE ALLOWED

—————-

 

6. (U) The Central Administrative Court yesterday endorsed

 

BANGKOK 00001945 002 OF 002

 

the use of pens for ballot-marking in response to the

Consumer Foundation Network\’s lawsuit against the EC. The

group cited concerns that the EC\’s requirement to use a

rubber stamp on the ballots may prompt a higher chance for

election fraud. The court, however, ruled that limiting

ballot-marking to only rubber stamps would be in violation to

a citizen\’s \”right to choose how to cast his or her vote,\”

and thus required that the EC make both pens and stamps

available to voters this Sunday.

 

STOP THE HARASSMENT!

———————

 

7. (C) The Thai Journalists Association and the Thai

Broadcast Journalist Association issued a joint statement

yesterday calling for an end to media harassment. This was

in response to some 2,000 pro-Thaksin \”Caravan of the Poor\”

demonstrators that swarmed the Kom Chad Luek newspaper office

yesterday, reportedly upset over an alleged slight to the

monarchy. The Kom Chad Luek newspaper announced yesterday

that it will suspend publications for five days and its

editor will resign. In their statement, the Thai media

condemned the protest as intimidation of the media, claiming

that the newspaper had already taken full responsibility for

the mistake. The statement denounced the protesters for

involving the monarchy in the conflict and urged their media

colleagues to take precautions against exploitation.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 10, 2011 at 5:44 am

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