Protest sympathy?

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Dear Ed,

I find it difficult to find sympathy for those who died in the political protests a year ago this month.  No one deserves to die for their political beliefs, but no one has the right to destroy other people’s property, threaten lives and livelihoods, and hold honest, law abiding citizens hostage for as long as they did.

I’m all for peaceful, non threatening protests.  But putting up barricades in the center of Bangkok, setting fire to tires, threatening to blow up a petrol truck, threatening violence to anyone who dare suggest they shouldn’t be there, as well as violently attack government officials’ homes and cars is not right.

Closer to home, lest we forget the breaking and entering of the PEACH at Royal Cliff, smashing windows to gain entrance, forcing visiting dignitaries from other countries to be airlifted out whilst fearing for their lives, and even attacking the prime minister’s motorcade on the corner of 3rd Road and South Pattaya Road.  I could imagine what would have happened to the attackers if they had attacked Prime Minister Cameron’s motorcade, or President Obama’s motorcade.  They would have been shot dead on site.

One might argue that the violence only came from a portion of the protesters, and that perhaps those shot and killed might not have been part of the violence.  To that I say, if I was at a political protest and some rogue idiots started setting fires, breaking things and injuring people, I would take that as a sign to get out of there and go home.  Anyone who stays, inadvertently or not, implicitly agrees with the violent tactics.  I could almost guarantee that before the shootings, everyone in the protest camp was caught up in the mob mentality, rooting on the violent minority.  Of course, no one would admit to it.  That would ruin their chances of getting money from the government; the same government they were protesting against.  Many even said they’d be willing to die for the cause.  And when they actually do die for the cause, suddenly the survivors cry “foul!”

Before anyone reading this thinks I am a yellow shirt protesting the red shirts, I feel the same way about the yellow shirts who took the airport hostage the year before. True democracy is not holding people hostage until they agree to your demands, just because you lost an election.

So, yeah, it’s a sad thing that people had to die in order to stop the mayhem.  But don’t blame the government, military or law enforcement, blame the protest leaders, who were either there or directing in abstensia, for allowing the wanton destruction to continue for so long, forcing law enforcement to take drastic measures to return the country to normalcy.

My main hope now is that the upcoming elections don’t throw us back into that same dark period in Thai history.

And please!  No more Purachai Piumsomboon, Mr Anti-Sanook, responsible for, among other things, no alcohol sales in the stores from 2 – 5 p.m.!

Mickey Manton