Friday 10 May 2013

With Thai Army tanks on night-time manoeuvres coup rumours persist in Bangkok

As photos emerge of Thai Army tanks rumbling around Bangkok on unannounced night-time manoeuvres, members of the democratically-elected Thai government appear to be getting very jittery.

"Psychological games" is how one senior government member described these tanks appearing on the streets of the Bangkok capital to me and sources close to other senior figures are saying that "warnings" have already been passed along regarding their safety should "anything happen". Only last week Thailand's most important best-selling newspaper, Thai Rath, also published reports of "coup rumours".

Whether the talk of a coup is just the usual Bangkok rumour mongering - something that seems to be a constant and well-founded worry whenever Thailand's political situation reaches a crisis point, with these crises usually arriving when the Thai Army and other shadowy elements in the Thai elites fail to recognise the legitimacy of a democratically elected government - is hard to tell.

But with 18 coups and several massacres of unarmed civilians under their belt the Thai Army, a military force which has an extraordinarily close relationship with the USA, can never be fully counted out of attempting to subvert Thai democracy once more.

And who is waiting in the wings, desperate for power once again? One Abhisit Vejjajiva.

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