Jaran Ditapichai is a anti-establishment red-shirt leader, leftist and ex-communist who has fled Thailand to France after the coup on 22 May 2014. Prachatai interviewed Jaran about his exile life and how he will fight for Thai democracy from abroad.
The Thai Appeal Court on Thursday upheld the verdict of the Court of First Instance, sentencing Yotwarit Chuklom aka Jeng Dokjik, a comedian turned red-shirt activist and politician to two years in jail for lèse majesté, without suspended jail term. The court found Yotwarit guilty of lèse majesté for a speech and a gesture, at a red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) rally on 28 March 2010. The 2010 red-shirt demonstration was to pressure the then Prime Minister
Red shirts and democracy advocates should question Thaksin Shinawatra, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and the Pheu Thai Party whether their priority is to bring Thaksin home or to help those red shirts who are in jail, said Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a Thammasat lecturer and political commentator, on his Facebook page.
The Department of Special Investigation has been investigating 258 cases involving protest rallies of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and 29 cases of offences against the monarchy.
On this coming July 3, 2011, there will be a general election in Thailand which apparently looks ordinary as any elections in democratic countries. But for those who follow the political situation in Thailand for many years would see that this is extraordinary election. It is unique in two respects.
KHON KAEN – Pheu Thai will win 80 of Isaan’s 126 constituency MP seats in the upcoming election, Northeastern Red Shirt leaders projected this past Sunday. Approximately 150 UDD provincial and district level leaders met at Khon Kaen University’s Mo Din Daeng Hotel to share their election forecasts and formulate their campaign strategies.
On 3 April, hundreds of red shirts attended the funeral of Therdsak Fungklinchan who had been killed during a clash with the military at Khok Wua intersection on 10 April last year.
Accepting the status quo, while at the same time claiming to fight against it, comes with some contradictions for UDD/Phue Thai Party. This will not appease all factions of the red shirts. Despite rhetoric of resistance and lots of emotive and expressive language at mass gatherings, there is little indication of a combined longer term vision or even of an ideology on which to achieve democracy. Neither has there been any intellectual discussion about what form that “democracy” should take, other than an assumption that it must come from the ballot box; that it must be built on the aspirations of the majority electorate. But an election under the current “rules of the game” established post 19 September 2006 can at best only be a means of redistributing political and economic benefits and in establishing new power sharing arrangements.
The case of Khun “Pla” (ปลา), a freelance media writer, arrested by police handing out information on 112 at the UDD rally on Saturday needs to be highlighted, not for the case itself (though that is important) but the manner in which she was arrested. Depressingly, she was handed over to the police by seven rude UDD guards (three were actually police hired as UDD guards) who then took her to the police station between 6-7 hours until after the demonstration finished and then released.