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Thailand sliding towards a Military Dictatorship

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Old June 11th, 2010, 05:03 PM posted to soc.culture.thai,rec.travel.asia
Obersturmbanfuhrer Olly
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Default Thailand sliding towards a Military Dictatorship

Jun 12, 2010

Abhisit's democratic choice
By Shawn W Crispin


BANGKOK - Thailand is sliding towards de-facto military rule and it is
not clear that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has the will or power
to turn back the authoritarian tide. A sustained state of emergency
has given security forces extraordinary powers to detain suspects
without trial, censor the media and ban public gatherings, powers the
top brass have flexed after last month's dramatic crackdown on anti-
government protesters encamped in the heart of Bangkok.

One military insider contends that the Center for the Resolution of
Emergency Situations (CRES), which was formed to handle the United
Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) protest group's street
protests, is morphing into a sort of ''shadow government'' to
Abhisit's democratically elected coalition. There is no sign since the
protest's dispersal that the CRES plans to disband. The insider says
it is putting in place structures to sustain its influence over the
country's administration.

Three weeks since the military moved decisively on May 19 against the
UDD, a crackdown against the group's leaders, organizers and
supporters has widened, with an emphasis on areas of the country that
remain under emergency rule. According to diplomats and human-rights
advocates, it is unclear how many people have been arrested and
detained, and under what conditions they are being held. The
government has acknowledged holding over 400 people; one local rights
group claims as many as 100 people have gone missing since May 19.

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