Earlier, TV announcements by a top police official had warned that troops would clear the streets with water cannons and the use of rubber bullets, this followed an announcement by Supreme Commander Songkitti Chakkrabat, director the emergency-tackling-command, Monday afternoon, that Thailand’s peace and stability would be restored as quickly as possible in order to bring life back to normal in Bangkok.
Communications were earlier disrupted between the Red Shirt elite and their cohorts in Bangkok and other parts of the country as the government assumed control of the Thaicom satellite station in Lat Lum Kaew, Pathum Thani. The Thaicom satellite had been used for rebel rousing and to Thaksin’s speeches
Thaksin, speaking via CNN, yesterday, Monday, criticised the government’s use of force to bring the protesters and control. He maintained many people had been killed as a consequence. Prime Minister Abhisit, however, repudiated the claim that deaths resulted from a heavy handed governmental crack down, saying “Our priority is restoring law and order. We respect the people’s right to protest.”
Two people had been confirmed killed and nine injured earlier, however, in clashes between red-shirted protesters and irate residents in Nang Loeng in a demonstration of public anger against the protesters. Earlier, rioters had been accused of beating up motorists who had hurled insults at them. As for the authorities, yesterday’s pre-dawn joint military-police baton charge against rioters in Din Daeng and Victory Monument and in later incidents in the day, resulted in an initial estimate of at least 113 injuries.
The rioters left behind them a trail of destruction with burnt out buses and tyres, a burnt ATM machine in Urupong area and the army headquarters and Education Ministry compound having been fire-bombed. Bad as the situation was, however, it could have been far worse if the commandeered LPG tanker, which the rioters were threatening to set fire to, had exploded.
The lasting effects go far beyond the material damage, though, where internally already consumer confidence has slumped to its lowest level in more than seven years. Once again tourists have fled Thailand, earlier TV pictures showing an exodus of farang backpackers from the Kao San Road, for example and various countries, including Australia, the US and Singapore issuing travel warnings to their citizens. Advice to Britons on the FCO website read: “In view of the deteriorating security situation anyone considering going to Bangkok should urgently review their plans.
The Thai Baht also declined 0.8 percent to 35.68 in offshore trading, the biggest drop since June 2008, and international rating agencies are strongly considering a ratings downgrade. According to Kim Eng Tan, a director at one of the top rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s in Singapore,
We have a negative outlook on the government ratings because of the continuing divide in Thai politics and the lack of obvious peaceful means of resolving it. While Credit Suisse analyst, Dan Fineman, declared An election will be the best outcome for investors as this will give the government greater legitimacy.