Thai Democracy Movement Is Anything But

Protests in Bangkok pit elite against fairly elected government
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2008 6:30 AM CDT
Protesters celebrate as they hear the announcement that Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej had lost a crucial court case Tuesday Sept. 9, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand.    (AP Photo/Ed Wray)
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(Newser) – In Bangkok, the People's Alliance for Democracy has entered its third week of occupying the office of the Thai prime minister, who was booted from office on Tuesday by the country's supreme court. But as Seth Mydans of the New York Times observes, the PAD only looks like a "people's power" revolution. In fact, it's a counterrevolution—against a government that, good or bad, won power in a fair election by a huge majority.

The PAD wants to do away with an elected parliament and replace it with a body of appointees, thus keeping power vested in Thailand's urban, royalist elite. For the protesters, political power should run top-down and reflect traditional Thai hierarchies. "In a nutshell, it’s a kind of distrust of the people," says one professor of Asian history.