Thai militay coup only worsens political strife
As Thailand is grappling with political internal debate, the United States of America today expressed opposition on the military intervention and rise of military coups in the Asian nation.
In his testimony Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Principal Deputy Scot Marciel for Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs said the US publicly and privately stated its opposition to a coup or other extra-constitutional actions.
The US has stressed that the only solution in a democracy is to let the people select the leaders and policies they prefer through elections.
He said the recent events have shown that the current military coup is both more repressive and likely to last longer than the last one.
Military coup a step backwards
Amid the Thai military reason that military coup is the best option to stop the political debate, the results have turned out not effective at all.
Instead, the ruling military council has continuously summoned, detained, and intimidated hundreds of political figures, academics, journalists, online commentators, and peaceful protesters.
In addition, the ruling party continues to censor local media sources and the internet, and has in the past weeks blocked international media as well.
“Actions by military authorities have raised anxiety among minority groups and migrant workers living within Thailand.” – Mr. Marciel
With the military coup, recent reports indicate that close to 200,000 Cambodian workers have fled Thailand out of fear that the military council will crack down on undocumented workers.
Repression hinders political reconciliation
According to Mr. Marciel, the coup and subsequent repressive actions will not produce the political compromise and reconciliation that Thailand so desperately needs.
“We do not believe that true reconciliation can come about through fear of repression.” – Mr. Marciel
He said the deep-rooted underlying issues and differences of opinion that fuel this division can only be resolved by the people of Thailand through democratic processes.
Unrest Rages In Thailand
A Coup detat is not something new in Thailand. The army has staged dozens of coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932.
The latest unrest erupted in Bangkok last year when former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the parliament. Protests started to rage in Bangkok and lasted for months.
Earlier this month, a Thai court ordered that Ms Yingluk be removed from her position due to charges of violating the constitution.
In addition, political unrest tormented Thailand after the government planned to implement an amnesty bill that would allow the exiled brother of current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to return to the Southeast Asian country without penalty.
Yingluck’s billionaire brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was the former Prime Minister who was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He later fled the country amid charges of corruption.
Since the coup, the ruling military junta of the National Peace and Order Maintenance Council has been making mass arrests of anyone opposed to them. Those arrested include peaceful demonstrators in many cities, citizens who responded to a public summons to report to the military, and citizens whose homes were raided unannounced.
Under the terms of Thai martial law, anyone can be detained for up to seven days without the authorities providing evidence or formally charging them.