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July 26, 2014

Lao Princess Savivanh Savang Manivong Calls For Focus on Plight of Lao Women “I appeal to Lao women, all overseas Lao”

“I appeal to Lao women, all overseas Lao, to come together and focus our efforts on improving the conditions of our fellow countrymen still in Laos. This is a plea to all Lao women to come together, to pay attention to the fate of the Lao people. Now Lao women can play a significant role in bringing all Lao together to find political means to bring back to our country freedom and democracy, which constitute the prerequisite condition for national development.”

Laos’s Princess Savivanh Savang Manivong called.

 

Princess Calls For Focus on Plight of Lao Women

2006-04-07

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.rfa.org/english/women/witow_lao-20060407.html

ภาพปริศนาหาดูได้ยาก สตรีสูงศักดิ์ผู้เลอโฉมเจ้าหญิงลาวพระองค์สุดท้ายLao Princess Savivanh Savang Manivong currently lives in exile in the southern French city of Nice. Educated in Luang Prabang, France and England, the princess served in the court of her father, the king of Laos, until the fall of the monarchy to communist forces in 1975. The rest of the royal family was interned in communist camps and have ‘disappeared’.

What follows are excerpts from a 1999 speech and from an interview with RFA’s Lao service:

“In the olden days, Lao women have been compared to the ‘hind legs of the elephant,’ in charge of household chores, of raising children. Because of all these duties and many more, we were called ‘the mother of the household’…”

“Since then, Lao women have had the opportunity to attend school and obtain various degrees in different fields, and they are now professionally and intellectually equal to their male counterparts in all fields and careers. Regardless of their advancement in the workforce or the professions, Lao women still hold true to, and practice the traditional role and behavior of a gentlewoman. We are gracious and poised in every way possible, and most importantly, we are the main keepers of our cultural heritage and tradition. Moreover, Lao women also have an important role in instilling and following the religious rites and practices of Buddhism.”

I am always interested in hearing about Lao women, and I am very concerned about the current problems that they face, especially since these problems have never existed before in Laos.

“Tragically in 1975, an unexpected event occurred in Laos where many husbands and heads of households, were arrested and sent for re-education because of their political affiliation with the previous regime. So the wives, now the heads of the households, had to save the rest of their families by taking them away from their native land and seeking refuge in third countries. Even though Lao women were loyal followers of their husbands, in time of need, and for the sake of their children’s future and happiness, they easily and confidently took the lead role in rescuing their families, providing them with new homes in new lands.”

“I myself was no exception, for I, too, had to weather many storms, many struggles, and much hardship in my life. During my exile, my thoughts and love were with my father, mother, brothers, other relatives, and all those who were taken by the Communists and whose fates were never revealed to anyone. I have traveled to many places, many countries, where, regardless of where they are, Lao women still hold true their dual roles of being a mother and being a worker/professional in their fields.”

“Admirably, they continue to instill religious values, Lao geography, history, cultural heritage and tradition, arts and literature, and Lao, the native language of our country, to their children from generation to generation. Some of them even manage to obtain prestigious degrees and are currently executives in companies and organizations. I proudly applaud them for their outstanding accomplishments.”

“Currently, we Lao women have securely settled down in third countries; however, I am thinking of those of us who are still left behind in our homeland and have to face daily struggles and difficulties in their lives. They have to do what it takes for them, and their families to survive. In addition, there are alarming new threats to Lao women such as AIDS, and drugs which are spreading widely in Laos.”

“I appeal to Lao women, all overseas Lao, to come together and focus our efforts on improving the conditions of our fellow countrymen still in Laos. This is a plea to all Lao women to come together, to pay attention to the fate of the Lao people. Now Lao women can play a significant role in bringing all Lao together to find political means to bring back to our country freedom and democracy, which constitute the prerequisite condition for national development.”

“I am always interested in hearing about Lao women, and I am very concerned about the current problems that they face, especially since these problems have never existed before in Laos. Upon hearing these struggles that face them daily, I am saddened and disheartened about the lives of our Lao women who have to struggle daily with these problems. As far as organizing the prevention and the fight of AIDS is concerned, I have not contacted anyone yet. I think it’s important for these women, for us, to come together and work collectively…”

Original reporting by RFA’s Lao service. Edited for the Web in English by Sarah Jackson-Han and Luisetta Mudie. Please continue to send contributions to RFA’s Women in Their Own Words project to women@rfa.org .

Original language reporting

On the Web

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Princess Savivanh Savang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Princess Savivanh Savang Manivong (1933 – 4 January 2007, Nice) was the daughter of King Savang Vatthana and Queen Khamphoui. She was educated in Luang Prabang, France and England, the princess served in the court of her father, the King of Laos, until the fall of the monarchy to communist forces in 1975. She went into exile in the city of Nice, France, where continued to politically pressure the communist government to provide human rights for women in Laos.[1]

Quotes

“Currently, we Lao women have securely settled down in third countries; however, I am thinking of those of us who are still left behind in our homeland and have to face daily struggles and difficulties in their lives. They have to do what it takes for them, and their families to survive. In addition, there are alarming new threats to Lao women such as AIDS, and drugs which are spreading widely in Laos.” [1]

External links

References

“Princess Calls For Focus on Plight of Lao Women”.

July 25, 2014

Thai junta awards itself sweeping amnesty under interim constitution

The Sydney Morning Herald

Thai junta awards itself sweeping amnesty under interim constitution

By Anuchit Nguyen and Suttinee Yuvejwattana

July 24, 2014

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.smh.com.au/world/thai-junta-awards-itself-sweeping-amnesty-under-interim-constitution-20140724-zw8qq.html

 

Deputy chief of Thailand's junta General Paiboon Koomchaya, announces the interim constitution.
Deputy chief of Thailand’s junta General Paiboon Koomchaya, announces the interim constitution. Photo: Reuters

Bangkok: Thailand’s junta has announced an interim constitution that gives itself an amnesty for staging the May 22 coup that overthrew the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. The constitution, Thailand’s 18th since 1932, has been approved by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The document also gives the military power to hand-pick a 220-member legislature, which will appoint a prime minister and 35-strong cabinet, according to a statement in the Royal Gazette.

Coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha recieves the interim constitution from King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha recieves the interim constitution from King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The constitution reflects the demands of a protest group led by former opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban that staged a six-month street campaign led by “yellow shirts” to oust the administration of Ms Yingluck, backed by “red shirt” demonstrators. Mr Suthep said he wanted to “reclaim sovereign power” and appoint a reform council to wipe out the influence of Ms Yingluck and her brother Thaksin, whose parties have won the past five elections.

The constitution “will help solve the crisis and return the situation to normal, restore security, unity and solve economic problems,” according to the statement from the National Council for Peace and Order, led by General Prayuth Chan-Ocha.

The junta will now draft “political rules to prevent and suppress corruption and investigate abuses of power by the state before handing the mission to new representatives and the government”.

Thailand's deposed former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Bangkok airport on Tuesday.
Thailand’s deposed former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Bangkok airport on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

The 48-article constitution, which replaces the one annulled by General Prayuth after the coup, is Thailand’s 18th since becoming a constitutional monarchy in 1932. The charter also calls for the formation of a 250-member reform committee that will need to approve a permanent constitution to be written by a 36-strong drafting committee before elections can be held.

“The NCPO will be in power until a new constitution is implemented,” junta adviser Wissanu Krea-ngam said at a media briefing in Bangkok, adding that General Prayuth is eligible to be named prime minister.

Article 44 of the charter gives General Prayuth the power to take action against any threats to peace and order, national security or the monarchy, and the charter’s final article protects the coup-makers from prosecution.

“The point of the constitution is to add palace legitimacy to the coup through the king-endorsed enshrinement of new laws,” said Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs in Chiang Mai. “Almost every Thai constitution has included an amnesty for the military. In fact, amnesty for militaries has been a major rationale for most Thai constitutions. This allows and encourages coup after coup after coup.”

People who have held positions with political parties in the past three years will be ineligible to join the legislature or the reform council, according to the charter, which gives the junta power to appoint members to both groups.

King Bhumibol, 86, was enthroned in 1946. Thailand’s constitution says the king “shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated”. His picture is hung in most Thai homes and a royal anthem praising him is played before movies in cinemas across the country.

Thailand’s military has carried out a dozen coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, with three governments overthrown since 2006 by the army or judicial action. The latest putsch came eight years after the army ousted Thaksin, dissolved his party and banned about 200 political allies from holding office for five years. Thaksin later fled abroad to escape a 2008 jail sentence from charges brought by a military-appointed panel.

Washington Post

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July 25, 2014

New Thai Constitution ‘clears way for junta general to become PM’

New Thai Constitution ‘clears way for junta general to become PM’

Thailand has adopted a constitution that legitimizes the May coup by granting the military sweeping powers and paving the way for junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha to become prime minister, analyst Paul Chambers tells DW.

Author Interview: Gabriel Domínguez

Editor:  Shamil Shams

Date:  24.07.2014

Permalink:  http://dw.de/p/1Ciam

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.dw.de/new-thai-constitution-clears-way-for-junta-general-to-become-pm/a-17807688

On July 22, Thailand’s king endorsed an interim constitution that grants power to the military to intervene in matters it deems “destructive to the peace and safety of the country” without approval of a civilian government. The document, pitched as “the first step toward restoring electoral democracy,” also preserves the military-led government called National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), in the run-up to a planned October 2015 election.

The draft, however, gave no timeframe for an election. The southeast Asian country has been ruled by a junta since the military staged a coup on May 22 following months of anti-government protests.

In a DW interview, Paul Chambers, Director of Research at the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs in Chiang Mai, Thailand, says that as junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha (main picture) is expected to retire as army commander in October, he will probably remain at the helm of the NCPO and also appoint himself the country’s prime minister.

DW: The new temporary constitution is being pitched as the first step towards restoring Thai democracy. What is your view on this?

Paul Chambers: The military and the arch-royalists are pitching the new temporary constitution as a first step toward restoring Thai democracy. This is due to the fact that their perception of democracy centers on not allowing any single elected person or party to dominate politics, something which they view as a threat to the king and vested Thai interests.

Chambers: “Prayuth has worked to design the new interim charter to facilitate his rise to the position of prime minister”

As such, the goal of the temporary charter is to set up an assembly to produce a permanent constitution which will diminish the power of elected Thai civilian governments. It is also meant to dilute the electoral system in such a way that no single party can achieve a majority.

Moreover, it is designed to weaken the power of the executive branch and weaken Thai political parties. Simultaneously, the judiciary and security forces would become more insulated from control by civilian governments and their powers would be enhanced.

What are the key aspects of the document?

Firstly, the temporary constitution has been produced to legitimize the May coup and the current ruling military junta. Secondly, the document legitimizes the process of writing a new permanent constitution. The first key aspect involves the creation of a 220-member national legislative assembly and appointed 36-person cabinet – including the post of prime minister. Importantly, the members of each entity are nominated by the NCPO, and then endorsed by the Thai king.

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA, an unelected body similar to parliament appointed by the military) is set to act as legislature to the cabinet. Meanwhile a National Reform Council is to be created and appointed to draft the new permanent constitution. Its members will be appointed by the NCPO and endorsed by the king.

The NCPO will thus be able to veto anything that the NLA, Cabinet or NRC decide, as long as the king endorses such a veto. In other words, the real power remains with the military junta. Such a situation differs from the coup group of 2006-2008, in which the prime minister was actually more powerful than the military junta leader.

Back then, there was much bickering between the junta and the cabinet, and one result was that less policies were effectively implemented, and less laws were enshrined to help ensure that pro-Thaksin political parties could return to power.

Thus, in 2008, a pro-Thaksin party did win the election. This time, the arch-royalists and military want to go the extra mile constitutionally to “fix” the botched anti-Thaksin efforts of the 2006-2008 coup group. As such, General Prayuth, through the NCPO, will be able to have singular power over all institutions, save for the king, who will likely endorse the changes allowed for by the NCPO.

Who drafted the constitution and why was it viewed as necessary by the NCPO?

Actually, it was a group of technocrats who created this interim constitution. Meechai Ruchupan and Wissanu Kruengam are the actual men who put together this document. Meechai has led the writing of Thai constitutions since 1991. He is close to the king. Wissanu was once close to Thaksin. He has moved over to support the arch-royalists.

The constitution was viewed as necessary by the NCPO to firstly legitimize their power seizure and administrative control over Thailand; secondly start the process of “reform,” thirdly grant them complete power over all other administrative, legislative and judicial entities and, last but not least, grant a blanket amnesty to the military for its seizure of power.

The amnesty is perhaps the principal reason for the interim constitution – at least for the military. It constitutionally clears them from any future court action against them. In fact, an amnesty for the Thai military has been a part of 16 of the past 19 constitutions. The need for amnesty can thus explain in part why first, Thailand has had so many constitutions; and second, why Thai soldiers are unafraid about carrying out new coups. It also does not hurt that most of these takeovers have been supported by Thailand’s monarch.

On a higher level, the need for a new interim constitution is needed to prepare for a permanent constitution which is designed to keep the Shinawatra family out of politics, or any future elected civilian politician who might attempt to dominate the political scene and perhaps threaten the political and economic monopoly of the monarchy.

What power does it give the military junta and General Prayuth?

The new temporary constitution has been produced to legitimize the May coup and the current ruling military junta, says Chambers

Article 44 of the constitution grants General Prayuth, as NCPO leader, total power over the rest of Thailand’s political system, though under the king.

I believe that Prayuth has worked to design the new interim charter to facilitate his rise to the position of Prime Minister. AsPrayuth is supposed to retire as Army Commander on October 1, 2014, he will probably remain NCPO head and also appoint himself prime minister, though this is not definite.

He will most likely appoint his loyalist, Deputy Army Commander General Udomdet Sitabutr as army commander. But Prayuth will remain in charge of the military and politics. The interim constitution allows this through Article 44.

Dr. Paul Chambers is Director of Research at the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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DW recommends

HRW slams Thai junta’s ‘comprehensive gag order’

Thailand’s military rulers have intensified restrictions on the free speech by threatening to close outlets with critical media coverage, a move that amounts to ‘gag order’ to all of society, HRW’s John Sifton tells DW. (21.07.2014)

July 24, 2014

Almost 150 million USD lost to corruption in Laos

Almost 150 million USD lost to corruption in Laos

VIENTIANE, July 22 (Xinhua) — More than 1.2 trillion Lao kip ( 149.40 million U.S. dollars) has been misappropriated from 2012 to the present day through corruption, according to state-run daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday.

The announcement was made by Head of the Government Inspection Authority Bounthong Chitmany during his report to the National Assembly (NA) on the status of inspection and anti-corruption activities.

According to Bounthong, the authority has inspected more than 300 targets since 2012. The main forms of corrupt activity were personal abuse of power for personal benefit, bribery, forgery of documents, illegally modifying technical standards and designs, and delaying document approval for personal gain.

“The corruption activities in the country are circulating in these five ways, with the abuse of power and delaying document approval the most widespread among them,” Bounthong said.

According to Bounthong, abuse of power was often exercised for the benefit of friends and family, while delaying the approval of documents was practiced to induce bargaining to speed approval.

Approximately 41.6 percent of the funds and assets gained by corrupt means have been recovered and restored to the National Treasury, amounting to some 505 billion Lao kip (62.87 million U.S. dollars).

Bounthong reminded the NA that state assets were being lost due to incomprehensive project management of developments including incomplete design works.

Officials were also guilty of overloading the price of projects and forging documents suggesting that projects were complete in order to receive payment.

The majority of state assets lost were due to deliberate conspiracies between groups of officials who created plans to embezzle money from the state budget. Other groups of officials conspired to sell state-owned land for unrealistically low prices for personal benefit.

According to Vientiane Times, Bounthong also decried the implementation of projects which had not been approved by the National Assembly as required by law. Such projects were a huge loss of state revenue as they violated not only financial discipline but often saw price blowouts due to a lack of transparency.

Projects implemented without the approval of the NA were also more likely to be a burden on the budget as they were often of a lower quality and more expensive.

Illegal logging and the illegal trade of wood were also a major factor in the loss of state property. Illegal or unmanaged logging has not only resulted in the destruction of forestry assets but has also brought less revenue from trade despite a rapidly increasing number of wood processing factories, Bounthong said.

 

July 23, 2014

Thailand: Revolution by Motorcycle?

 NYR-BLOG

Thailand: Revolution by Motorcycle?

Reporting for this article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
July 23, 2014, 1:12 p.m
Apichart Weerawong/AP Photo
Supporters of Thailand’s Red Shirt movement in a protest against the Constitutional Court, Bangkok, May 8, 2013 

In the spring of 2010, when as many as 300,000 political protesters from Thailand’s Red Shirt movement occupied Bangkok’s main commercial district, they were helped by an unusual ally: tens of thousands of motorcycle taxi drivers. With their ability to navigate obstructed streets, the motorcycle taxis transported Red Shirt leaders through otherwise barricaded parts of the downtown. And they carried messages, money, and materials to the protesters, including the makings of Molotov cocktails. Eventually the military used lethal force to chase the Red Shirts from the streets, killing about seventy of them. But the remarkable involvement of the motorcycle taxi drivers signaled a deep change in Thailand, a new willingness on the part of previously disenfranchised groups to defy authority.

After a couple of years of relative quiet, Thailand’s political turmoil resumed again a few months ago when the Red Shirts’ mortal foes, the Yellow Shirts, mounted protests that effectively prevented the government from functioning, and this time the army took over in a coup d’état. The resilience of groups like the motorcycle taxi drivers, however, is likely to make it difficult, and perhaps impossible, for the new junta to maintain undisputed control—or to turn the government over to any civilian party that the drivers and others like them view as deadly rivals.

Motorcycle taxis are a large and, more important, representative constituency. If you want to get someplace quickly in traffic-choked Bangkok, your best bet is to take a two-wheeled motorcycle taxi, even if it doesn’t feel entirely safe to weave through traffic the way they do, squeezing in the tight spaces between slowly moving cars. There are some 200,000 motorcycle taxi drivers in Bangkok, most of them licensed, some of them not, recognizable by the orange vests they wear as they infiltrate the traffic, or wait for customers under corrugated metal awnings. They make four to six million trips a day, which means that the motorcycle taxis carry ten times as many passengers as Bangkok’s smooth-as-silk rapid transit system.

These drivers are, in other words, indispensable for local transportation.They also have some political significance in a country now under military rule for the second time in the past eight years, and, by some counts, the nineteenth time since Thailand became a constitutional democracy in 1932.The junta is promising a restoration of civilian rule, but it wants this to occur somehow without the eventual reelection of the democratically elected party it just forcibly removed from office. The motorcycle taxi drivers show that this might not be easy to do.

Like Bangkok’s waitresses, factory workers, chambermaids, domestic servants, and prostitutes, most of the motorcycle taxi drivers come from Isan, the northeastern provinces bordering on Laos. The people from Isan are darker complexioned than the predominantly Sino-Thai population of Bangkok. They speak with a recognizable accent. In the past they were the butt of country-bumpkin jokes. Bangkok mothers would tell their children that if they didn’t work hard in school, that’s how they would end up—as motorcycle drivers waiting at sweltering intersections to take passengers places for the equivalent of a dollar or two a trip.

According to an Italian anthropologist, Claudio Sopranzetti, who wrote his Harvard Ph.D. thesis on the Bangkok motorcycle drivers, they perfectly illustrate the coming to political awareness of Thailand’s rural people, whose demands for inclusion and enfranchisement are at the heart of the country’s continuing political crisis.For years, driving the streets of Bangkok, ferrying goods that they couldn’t afford and passengers whose material lives were vastly superior to their own, these drivers had what Sopranzetti calls a daily experience of inequality, though this awareness didn’t matter much politically in Thailand where, perhaps encouraged by a certain Buddhist quiescence, the tendency of the poor upcountry people was to assume that little could be done to change their lot in life.While their condition, like that of the rural poor in general, was not a matter of indifference to the country’s various governments, nor was it a major priority.

But, as in other countries, as large numbers of migrants left rural areas for the cities, where wealth was concentrated, consciousness of inequality grew and it began to matter politically. In Thailand it did so rather abruptly, in 2001, when the telecommunications billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra successfully ran for prime minister on a populist program. Born and raised in an upcountry town, Thaksin began diverting resources that had previously gone to Bangkok to the rural provinces—in the form of micro-loans, new health care benefits, and one-time infusions of cash for village projects, like paved roads.

Back in Bangkok, the motorcycle taxi drivers had largely existed in the shadows of the informal economy, where they were prey to organized criminals and corrupt police to whom they paid protection money.But Thaksin started issuing licenses for them, and that’s when they began wearing the orange vests so familiar in Bangkok today, each vest something like a taxi medallion, with a market value to it. In exchange, the drivers pay an annual tax, which, in Sopranzetti’s view, was an important step in their emerging political awareness because it gave them a sense of entitlement that they didn’t have before.

Hiroji Kubota/Magnum Photos
Motorcycle taxi drivers with Red Shirt protesters in front of a barricade in central Bangkok, May 20, 2010 

Sopranzetti, who is now a visiting scholar at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, cites one of his motorcycle taxi driver informants, a man he calls Adun, on the psychological effect of Thaksin’s licensing and taxation scheme. “Thaksin told us that we pay taxes and, therefore, state officials work for us,” he wrote in a paper he presented at a recent university colloquium. Thaksin “rephrased poverty as a lack of state support. He recognized the motorcycle taxi drivers as economic actors to whom the state had to offer a structure of inclusion.” The drivers were grateful. More important for national politics, they were part of a much more profound shift in voters’ interests, one that was propelled by large majorities of rural people whose lives had been changed by Thaksin’s policies. In 2005, with overwhelming support in the rural provinces, he was reelected in the biggest landslide in Thailand’s history.

But many others in Thailand, generally referred to as the Bangkok elite, worried, not without some reason, that Thaksin, who further enriched himself while in office and tended to run roughshod over opposition, was a kind of elected dictator in the making. His strong backing by rural voters who had previously stayed out of politics lent urgency to this worry. Many from the country’s traditional centers of power—the political and military leaders and people close to the royal family—feared that, with his enormous appeal to the rural masses, Thaksin could never be voted out of office.

Thaksin’s opponents, known as the Yellow Shirts, staged large demonstrations against him in Bangkok. Then, in 2006, he was removed from office in the first of the country’s two recent military coups. The pattern followed by Thai politics ever since was set: Thaksin or, since the 2006 coup, a stand-in for him (he was forced into exile in 2008 and lives mostly in Dubai) has won every election to be held in Thailand since 2001, only to be removed by non-electoral means—most recently by the current junta.

In reaction, each time a pro-Thaksin government is removed from power, there has been an angry mass reaction in the form of protests by what have come to be called the Red Shirts, consisting largely of the newly enfranchised rural people, including the motorcycle taxi drivers, calling for their democratically-expressed will to be respected. The Red Shirt demonstrations culminated in the 2010 occupation of central Bangkok, in which the motorcycle taxi drivers provided the crucial logistical support. This involvement marked another step in their awakening to the political process. For the first time in their lives, as Sopranzetti puts it, the motorcycle taxi drivers “challenged state power.”

When, in May, 2010, the military moved decisively against the Red Shirt protesters with tanks and guns, their rivals hoped it be the end of this mass movement. But when new elections were held the following year, the pro-Thaksin party easily won yet again.Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, became the latest of several Thaksin proxies to serve as prime minister.She served for three years and then, after a complicated sequence of maneuvers, she was removed from power and the current junta took control.

The motorcycle taxi drivers have long since returned to their orange vests and busy intersections. I spoke to a dozen or so of them, and their main complaint was that the coup has harmed the tourist trade, so they have fewer customers. The junta has essentially banned criticism of itself—curbing the press and threatening to punish open dissent—and the drivers, like many Thais, are maintaining a discreet silence. But the underlying problem faced by Thailand’s new leaders would seem to be the same as the one faced by the junta of 2006, and the one faced by the caretaker government after the crackdown of 2010.It is that people like the motorcycle taxi drivers are no longer the country bumpkins who used meekly to submit to authority.They are a politically-engaged population spread across the heart of the capital, on every street corner—part of an electoral majority that has challenged the power of unelected governments again and again, and they aren’t going away.


Reporting for this article was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

July 23, 2014, 1:12 p.m.

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