I fully support Suthep Thaugsuban's vow that, if the UDD brings in armed red shirts, he'll send his protesters home to avoid a civil war.
Such a move would not only avoid bloodshed – it would also bring the protest back within a democratic framework by respecting the rights of others, such as the right to peacefully work near protest venues. In fact, he should send the protesters home now and let democratic institutions like the courts hold our leaders accountable.
If the National Anti-corruption Commission finds Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of dereliction of duty for failing to curb rice-subsidy corruption, she will be legally required to step aside, at which point the red shirts might carry out their threat to take to the streets. If that happens, it will be the duty of the police and Army to restore peace and order, which again is within the democratic framework.
The protesters should work with the universities, the Thai Development Research Institute, professional associations, etc, to show voters – including red shirts – how well or poorly Pheu Thai has served them.
For example, Yingluck has sold 730,000 tonnes of rice, but the president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association says it might have been sold at a mere B10,000 per tonne, or two-thirds what she paid for it from 2011-2013, a huge loss by any standards. Meanwhile the TDRI found that only 29 per cent of rice-plan revenues reached poor farmers. How much has really been lost? Can farmers expect to be paid? Are there more cost-effective alternatives to achieve the stated goals? Again, use democracy to hold our elected leaders accountable.
Let’s return the protest to democratic boundaries.