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06BANGKOK2596 LIMBO, LAWSUITS, AND LUMPINI PARK – HOW MUCH LONGER??

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“62608”,”5/3/2006 9:21″,”06BANGKOK2596″,”Embassy Bangkok”,

 

“CONFIDENTIAL”,”06BANGKOK2370|06BANGKOK2567″,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002596

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/04/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH, Thai Political Updates

SUBJECT: LIMBO, LAWSUITS, AND LUMPINI PARK – HOW MUCH

LONGER??

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2567

B. BANGKOK 2370

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton for reason 1.4 (d)

 

1. (U) SUMMARY. On May 2, The People,s Alliance for

Democracy (PAD) returned to Bangkok,s Lumpini Park to hold

another demonstration. The rally was peaceful but turnout

was much smaller in comparison to previous PAD-led events.

PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul announced the return of his

weekly political talk show which he plans to stage from

various cities around the country in the coming weeks. For

the past several weeks, the PAD has been reaching out to the

provinces to spread its anti-Thaksin message. Meanwhile, a

plethora of lawsuits have been filed against the core

leadership of the PAD who all remain free on bail. End

Summary

 

PAD GATHERS IN LUMPINI PARK

—————————

 

2. (U) Last night,s PAD rally attracted only a core group of

the movement,s following. Estimates of crowd size vary from

4,000 – 5,000. As usual, the demonstration was spirited, but

peaceful. Speakers warned that if Thaksin reverses his

decision to \”take a break from politics\” (as some TRT members

have hinted he might) the political crisis would worsen and

PAD would have to return to the streets in force. PAD vowed

to continue its efforts until the \”Thaksin regime\” is fully

dismantled. At the same time, the PAD made it clear that it

respects the wishes of the King to have the matter of

April,s snap election resolved by the Thai court system.

 

3. (U) PAD-leader and media firebrand Sondhi Limthongkul

announced the return of his weekly political talk show to be

held every Saturday starting on May 20. The break between

now and May 20 would presumably provide enough time for the

courts to rule on the various key cases regarding the snap

election (see Reftel A). Prior to the formation of the PAD,

Sondhi,s staged his weekly anti-Thaksin talk show before a

live audience at Lumpini Park to crowds ranging from 4,000 up

to 30,000. The May 20 program will be held at Lumpini Park

and broadcast live via Sondhi,s ASTV television channel.

After that, Sondhi plans to take the show on the road,

broadcasting from different cities around the country.

 

4. (U) For the past several weeks, the PAD leadership has

been traveling the country in an attempt to promote its

anti-Thaksin message in the provinces. Most of these visits

have gone smoothly, with the exception of Udon Thani where

PAD members were met by an angry crowd of rock throwing

Thaksin supporters (see Reftel B). In addition to Udon

Thani, the PAD has held gatherings recently in Nakhon

Ratchasima, Trang, Phuket, and Nakon Sri Thammarat.

 

THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW…

————————

 

5. (U) The list of lawsuits and countersuits continues to

grow. On May 1, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) filed charges

against the five core leaders of the PAD for a wide variety

of offenses. The charges run the gamut from attempting to

overthrow the democratic government and inciting unrest to

violating traffic laws and illegal use of loudspeakers.

 

6. (U) Naturally, the five PAD leaders (Sondhi Limthongkul,

Chamlong Srimuang, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaiboon and

Pipop Thongchai) denied all of the charges insisting that

they are politically motivated. The accused leaders went

together to the RTP,s Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok

to surrender themselves on May 1. They were all released

after about two hours of questioning and were told to report

again to the RTP on May 8.

 

7. (C) These latest charges come on top of the lese majeste

charges filed against Sondhi Limthgnkul. Sondhi initially

refused to adhere to two police summons related to the

charge. Only after an arrest warrant was issued did he agree

to turn himself in to police on April 28. He was released

the same day on bail of roughly USD 7,500. (COMMENT: The

charge of lese majeste, which essentially means insulting the

King, is often used as a political tool to intimidate

opponents and influence pubic opinion against the target of

the charge. Few of these cases ever actually reach court and

even fewer actually result in a guilty verdict. End comment.)

 

8. (C) COMMENT: The temperature of the political crisis is

decidedly cooler in the wake of the King,s speech.

Nevertheless, in the lingering limbo of awaiting court

rulings drags on, it appears that the only thing the

protagonists in this drama have to do is file more and more

lawsuits against each other. So far, the Supreme Court alone

has received a record number of cases (414 to date) of

alleged electoral violations related to the April 2 election.

While we doubt that any of the charges filed against the PAD

leaders (or other key individuals involved in this crisis)

will result in any serious punitive actions, we will continue

to monitor developments closely. End Comment.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

Posted in Confidential, PAD, Sonthi

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