The Nation



Protesters lost me after amnesty bill was beaten

Having listened to BlueSky TV, the main anti-government channel, since the movement began, I have very strong doubts about the trustworthiness of the protest leaders. I was fully with them when they began, being against the amnesty bill, which would have legalised killing, murder, and corruption.

But the leaders are now seeking overthrow the elected government. Khun Suthep says that the government is illegitimate because PM Yingluck will not comply with the Constitutional Court - and that therefore the protesters are protecting the Constitution. Yes, the government's defiance must be struck down - but it is for the Court to decide on the government's legitimacy. The protesters should have let the Court speak first, without usurping their role in the name of protecting them.

What do the leaders promise in exchange for kicking out a highly corrupt government? They've never spelled it out, but the People's Council will be chosen by them, and parties will have to follow their rules. Present party members, who are often those most likely to be politically active and thus most needed in a democracy, are specifically excluded from membership in the Council. It sounds like a recipe for a nation of sheep.

Freedom of the press is essential for a robust democracy. To counter the bias of other channels, protest followers say that all they want is a balanced view, which is vital. However, all journalist associations - without exception - noted that the leaders demanded that stations to report only what BlueSky said. Did Suthep lie to those who trusted in him?

How about another key characteristic of democracy, accountability? Suthep says if he cannot overthrow the government, he'll turn himself in to stand trial - but if he wins, evidently he will not surrender. I suggest he should stand trial, win or lose - as Khun Abhisit and he should be tried for the 92 deaths during the last unrest, even if they'd won re-election.

Burin Kantabutra

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