Here’s what happened in Bangkok this weekend. I promise you it is all true. Although it sounds fictitious, sadly it is life in the Thai capital at the moment.
A Monk who has been quite prominent among anti-Government supporters led a march on the offices of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO). They were demanding CAPO launch yet another investigation into the Government. Goodness knows what else there is to investigate.
Anyway the Monk and his followers were warned not to remove barriers and barbed wire – several times – but did so anyway. When repeated warnings continued to be ignored, the police opened fire with water cannons and tear gas canisters. From all reports the Monk and a handful of his supporters had to be treated for stinging eyes and other injuries.
Now the story gets really silly. The Monk announces he will press attempted murder charges against the police. Then he says he’ll drop the charges if they apologise. Which they subsequently do. On their knees.
Meanwhile across the city, anti-government protestors begin shutting down roads again. They have no legal right to do so, and it caused a lot of problems and short tempers in the 40 degree heat. But when one poor motorist, fed up with the unlawful, reckless behaviour of the protestors, decided to move one of the cones so he can drive home, well..
A group of thugs set upon him, using rifle butts to smash his car windows and then lay into him with unbridled anger, beating the poor motorist until he was unconscious.
Tonight another motorist was stabbed in the chest after moving a cone. His heavily-pregnant wife was sitting next to him.
Protest leaders have promised to hand the thugs over to the police. It will be interesting to see if they do.
The protestors think they can do whatever they want. On the available evidence, they’re right. Unfortunately a compliant press allows them to get away with this outrageous behaviour.
But at least the media and the journalist union stood firm when protesters tried to take over the airwaves. And CAPO is also standing firm, which is really annoying anti-government forces.
Their ringleader, Suthep Thaugsuban, is reportedly being investigated for money laundering. He’s also facing murder charges stemming from the 2010 riots. That probably says it all.