The Nation



Foreign media put protest lull down to Royal birthday

MEDIA OUTLETS worldwide have reported on the temporary truce between the anti-government protesters and the police that began on Tuesday. Some admitted that the police's decision to clear the barriers and pull back was a surprise, but they all saw this as an attempt to defuse the political tension ahead of His Majesty the King's 86th birthday today.

CNN and BBC said the atmosphere changed massively after the police withdrew. The battle zone "has suddenly turned into something a bit like a family picnic", said Jonathan Head, a BBC correspondent.

CNN described it as more of a carnival atmosphere, with flowers, water bottles and hugs being exchanged between the police and protesters.

The Guardian, and Singapore's Channel News Asia and Straits Times, said this response was likely in preparation for His Majesty's birthday. They quoted the National Security Council chief, Paradorn Pattanatabut: "There's a mutual understanding that everything must be calm and orderly on this auspicious day."

Britain's The Telegraph suspected that a backroom deal may have been involved in securing the peace.

However, all media outlets are aware that this truce is temporary. Bloomberg, for example, quoted protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban as saying, "From December 6 we will resume the fight every day, every hour and every minute until we achieve victory."

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