The Nation


Letters to the Editor

Bangkok shutdown is violence

Blockading the capital amounts to large-scale violence. Protesters under the control of Suthep Thaugsuban claim they are non-violent, because they pledge to refrain from physically harming people.

They conveniently ignore other forms of violence they commit, which have far-reaching repercussions not only for Bangkok people, but for the entire country, including the economy.

This is violence: Electricity and water supplies being cut, public buildings and facilities being damaged, invaded and occupied. Public services are curtailed or not available. People are prevented from using public roads, government officials prevented from going to work, and children from going to school. Insults and threats are verbal violence.

The shutdown is not about democracy. Democracy cannot be imposed by force; it is not a set of rules and regulations. Democracy emerges and grows with the voluntary participation of the people. Boycotting elections, preventing people from going to the polls is undemocratic and violent behaviour. Without tolerance and compromise an emerging democracy cannot survive. It cannot be invented by a self-appointed committee under the control of an autocratic leader.

Manfred Liebig

Freiburg, Germany

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