Exclusive Video: Thaksin on Thai crisis
Nov 28, 2008
DEC 3 UPDATE: I just posted a copy of an email in which William Itoh, former US Ambassador to Thailand, critiques the Thai court forcing PM Somchai’s resignation.
HONG KONG(NOV 28) – Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra today warned that the protesters blocking Bangkok’s airports must clear out or face the consequences.
In this video below, Thaksin also warned that should the military launch a coup, it would be much more bloody than the previously occasions.
These came out when I had coffee today with Thaksin, who now lives in exile. He spoke passionately about this week’s events in Thailand.
Thaksin is extremely upset by the turn of events and remains closely involved. As we spoke, he took lengthy calls about the situation from two prime ministers in Southeast Asia.
In the video below, Thaksin urges all parties to obey Thai laws and warns that – unlike previous coups – attempts by the Thai military to seize power would go very badly.
Some quotes from the video:
“The airports must be reopened and the protesters must respect not only the law, but the citizens of Thailand,” Thaksin said. “If no one respects the law, then law enforcement must be done.”
“This is dangerous for the country and there will be a long term effect if the Thai people are not united,” Thaksin said. “The protesters need to leave the airports.” “Those who violate the law must be prosecuted.
“If a coup were to happen, there would be bloodshed, this would not be an easy coup like in the past. The people in Thailand now face hardship since dictatorship came.”
Thaksin urged his supporters to “protect democracy”: “If you protect Democracy you may be painful for a while, but if you allow dictatorship to take over Thailand you are going to have a nightmare for your whole life.”
Thaksin’s message to the military: “They are officials whose salary is paid by taxpayer money, so they have to do what is wanted by the whole of the Thai people, not just for minority groups. They must respect Democracy. They must play by the rules. Being neutral means you have to observe the law.”
Life in exile has surreal quality, Thaksin said. He was waiting in line for UK immigration one recent morning when Thai politicians began calling him on his mobile, lobbying for him to support their bids for power. A few days later, while outside of Britain, he learned that he could not go back to the UK. “It takes such a very strange quality sometimes, my life,” Thaksin said.