Chaos – subsiding or expanding?

Let’s step away from “they are armed – no they are not” debate for a moment and look at a slightly bigger picture.

It all started when the army decided to block Rajprasong from getting essential services like electricity and food and prevent more supporters form joining in.

Publicly reds were unperturbed, pointing out to the their own generators and fire hydrants that would never be short of water. Having said that, hordes of red shirts started attacking the army check points, trying to break through the blockade.

Soldiers fought back and defended their positions, scores of attackers were killed or wounded.

It was generally lost on the commentariat that however logical this red tactic might be, attacking army positions has no moral, legal or “democratic” excuse. International media was talking about army fighting the protesters but also failed to mention that the army hasn’t even tried to breach red barricades and came under attack “from behind”.

In the following couple of days the positions remained more or less stable with soldiers holding their positions around Rajprasong and reds on the outside setting fires at a safe distance.

The army is preparing to deal with Rajprasong and for now left tire burning reds to themselves, they are harmless and won’t dare to attack the troops again. They could deal with them later, after the main site is cleared and secured.

As I was typing this the news announcement came in telling the reds at Rajprasong to leave before 3PM or else. Else being put in jail for two years (if they survive the assault, that is…)

The public is fed images of burning Bangkok and reds in places like Bon Kai and Victory monument acting with impunity. In PR terms they are now their own worst enemy, after they burned Tesco Express and a gold shop and a couple of ATMs, robbed 7-Elevens and so on.

Even Weng on the red stage spent nearly half an hour warning against looting and burning property as it would turn the population against them.

So, is it a total chaos? Looks so if you just follow the news, yet it appears to be under control if you look at overall army operations. They didn’t expect all these pillows of smoke and accusations of shooting unarmed protesters or reds trying to attack their positions from the outside but, apart from delaying the crackdown on Rajprasong by a couple of days, reds didn’t achieve anything substantial.

They also failed to inflict any serious casualties on the army proving that their daring assaults are still no match to army’s superior firepower, though that might change when soldiers charge bamboo barricades that are supposed to be well defended. It’s not clear how many people are left manning those barricades, reds might have a serious shortage of manpower to guard their very long perimeter.

What I don’t understand is why the army delayed their advance until after 3 PM at least – there will be only a couple of hours of daylight left. Are they planning to finish the whole operation in three hours? Or are they hoping for a surrender? Or are they planning to move at dawn tomorrow?

Either way, pending some unexpected developments, the final assault on Rajprasong seems inevitable.

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2 Responses

  1. From the Nation:

    Live broadcast from Channel 3 at 5:50 pm Monday showed protesters trying to blow up an oil tanker outside a petrol station near the Bon Kai community close to Soi Ngam Duplee on Rama IV Road.

    The TV live broadcast using 3G connection showed that certain bullets hit the oil tank of oil truck but no explosion occurred yet.

    Rubber tyres were burning near the oil tanker.

    The station said a protester drove the truck out of the petrol station and left it in front of the station.

  2. Since the army didn’t move in on Rajprasong the chaos outside is escalating.

    Just watched Alice in Wonderland, at the end of the movie there was a “civil war” between supporters of Red and White Queens but as soon as red champion was slain all fighters dropped their weapons.

    I’m afraid dispersing Rajprasong won’t have the similar effect but dealing with rioters outside the main camp would be a lot easier when the movement leaders give up the fight.

    God knows what they can do to “help” while the leaders still hold out.

    As for tanker – where are the snipers when you need them?

    Seriously, they should have shot both the driver and the ones who put up the fires around it. Now maybe the are afraid to draw “blackshirt” fire if they approach the area.

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