Bangkok airport protest

  Al94 22:11 29 Nov 2008

You really have to admire the courage and dedication of the Thai people in this amazing mass demonstration of hatred of their corrupt government. Police sent to dispel them left half heartedly today realising they were outnumbered.

Maybe time is approaching for other countries to take a stand against useless ineffective regimes (yes I know a country votes in the government it deserves) but something similar at Heathrow would be bloody marvelous!

  Forum Editor 23:12 29 Nov 2008

which is that the protesters are causing untold damage to their country's biggest asset - its tourist industry.

Some of the people in Bangkok's airports have been stranded there for almost a week, and they're fast running out of money. If something doesn't happen soon there may be some ugly scenes as the travellers run out of patience. It's time for Somchai Wongsawat to go, and shortly he may have no say in the matter; he doesn't have the support of the army, and in these situations that's a very bad position to be in.

  Al94 08:58 30 Nov 2008

I can understand the frustration of people stranded and I probably wouldnt be so quick to praise the actions of the Thai people if I was one of them but it does display how people power can work peacefully and potentially successfully. The tourist industry will soon recover under a new regime.

  wiz-king 08:58 30 Nov 2008

As an aside, please can I have my staff back? One trapped in Bangkok and one shaken but unharmed in Bombay - foreign holidays will be banned next year!

  Forum Editor 12:45 30 Nov 2008

"The tourist industry will soon recover under a new regime."

The world is slipping into recession, and tourism is suffering badly as a result. Thailand desperately needs its tourist revenue, and the current action by supporters of PAD is not helping at all.

You talk of 'people power' working peacefully, but I wonder if you're fully aware of what's going on here? PAD is an organisation that increasingly relies on violence to achieve its aims, and it's certainly not - as you seem to think - a populist movement, supported by the mass of the people of Thailand - it's a middle-class organisation that is on record as saying that the ordinary people of Thailand are too uneducated to choose what it calls 'sensible leaders'.

A good deal of PAD's support amongst members of the Thai middle class has slipped away in the face of the increasingly violent tactics adopted by PAD, and the army has refused to help PAD mount the military coup it would like.

All that glisters is not gold, and if you think that the airport goings on are indicative of the general wishes of the Thai people you are sadly mistaken. The one thing I've learned about the Thai political situation over the years I've been travelling there is that it is extremely complex, and constantly changing. The next few months are going to be interesting from an outsider's point of view, and probably distressing for lots of ordinary Thai people.

  laurie53 19:42 30 Nov 2008

The government may, or may not, be corrupt, my knowledge of Thailand is too limited to form an opinion, but I did think that it was generally accepted to be a democratically elected government.

If it is then these protesters are simply protesting against democracy.

  Condom 20:21 30 Nov 2008

The government of Thailand is indeed a very complex matter. Although the government is an elected body and elections are very fair the choice of candidates is limited to a great extent in that most candidates are uniform wearers from either the forces or the police. In the UK serving members of the police and forces are not allowed to hold political office.

The hill tribes and Isan people to the N and NE of the country are strong supporters of the "government" and the main problem is with the power brokers in the Bangkok area who have traditionally been the power holders. They thought they had lost out badly during the Thaksin regime and want the status quo resumed. The south of the country has its own problems with "muslim" unrest particularly near the Malaysisn border but that is nothing compared to Thailands main problems.

The most revered King is very old and ill and Thailand really needs to have a stable government before he passes on on there is likely to be very real trouble. There have been upsets concerning younger princes in the Royal Family in recent years including soft p*** films which the Thai people have never seen and which you would be instantly thrown in jail for even mentioning. The esteem the Royal Family is held in is very difficult for most westerners to grasp. This is perhaps why some PAD members try to insinuate that the present Government is somehow anti royalist.

Thai wages are so low that it is so easy for rich people to hire "rent a mobs" for little money and many of these deomonstrators will be there for no other reason than to earn some money to feed there families as there is little in the way of social welfare apart from ex-patriot run charities.

On the whole Thai people are by nature very quiet people who submit to "uniform" authority without question but this has very slowly been changing.

I'm hopefully going back again in January for at least another 6 months and I expect I'll be treated as well as I've always been done. I've been there through Tsunami and coup in recent years and still love the people and their endless generosity and kindness.

The Thai people deserve better than this present unrest.

  laurie53 09:45 01 Dec 2008

Many thanks for that reasoned view and potted background.

  peter99co 11:57 02 Dec 2008
  Legolas 20:23 03 Dec 2008

A friend from my local church went out to Thailand a couple of years ago to work with orphaned children, met a Thai girl and is now set to get married on Saturday 6th Dec in Thailand. It was beginning to look like none of his family would make the wedding, here's hoping the protests have been called off in time and his relations can get out there.

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