Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thailand – Fear of Rioting Looms

Two gripping political dramas reach their climaxes today - the lodging of a petition to His Majesty the King seeking clemency for former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and the reading of the Supreme Court's verdict in the rubber-sapling case against Bhum Jai Thai Party core leader Newin Chidchob.The red-shirted supporters of Thaksin will march to the Grand Palace, where at Wiset Chaisri Gate they will hand the appeal to a representative from the Office of His Majesty's Private Secretary.

At the same time, the blue-shirted devotees of Newin will turn up at the Supreme Court's Political Division for Political Office Holders, which is located near Sanam Luang. Since the two activities will take place very close by, authorities are afraid there could be clashes between the red shirts and blue shirts if they do not get the political results they want.The red shirts will converge at Sanam Luang in the morning and Thaksin will phone in to their rally at about 10am.

The verdict in the rubber case against 44 defendants, including Newin, will be read out at 2pm.

Suriyasai Katasila, coordinator for the People's Alliance for Democracy, warned of a possible political twist if a third party took the opportunity to create a scene for its own benefit. He questioned the impassive stance by military leaders, saying they will be the key factor wielding influence over the situation.

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