Shareware Beach

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Tourists Scare Off Tanks

Filed under: Thailand — Jan @ 18:02

We drove through Ratchadamnoen avenue this afternoon, where the army headquarters and a lot of important government buildings are located. We saw lots and lots of tourists, most of them locals, but no military hardware on the streets. I don’t know it the tanks were moved, or if they were simply blocked from view by the crowds and trafic. We didn’t stop to have a closer look.

This morning’s newspaper had pictures of the crowds and tanks. It all looked more like a show of military machinery, usually put on on Children’s Day, rather than a coup d’etat.

We did see many small groups of soldiers standing guard at various intersections. But they looked rather at easy–not to say: bored.

While you can argue until you’re blue in the face about democratic principles, most Thais have more pratical views. Better to have peace and prosperity under a non-democratic government, than violence under elected leadership. And violence is what many feared would have happened during the mass demonstrations planned on Sept. 20th, if they hadn’t been pre-empted by the coup the day before. Regardless of what might have been, Thailand hasn’t been much of a genuine democracy all this year. If the coup-leaders follow through on their promises of a civilian caretaker government within weeks and constitutional reform and proper elections within a year, then Thailand has certainly turned the corner on the way back to democracy.

Unless something major happens, I’m going to stop blogging about politics now. After all, I’m a geek and not a lawyer.

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