Suthep’s Bangkok Shutdown is a failure
Suthep Thaugsuban’s ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ protests are now in their fourth day and, let’s face it, they’re an epic fail. Yingluck Shinawatra’s government is still standing, elections are still going ahead in February, Bangkok hasn’t been paralyzed as Suthep said it would be, and, every day, PDRC anti-government protesters fall in number. Of course, Suthep continues to say protesters will stay on the streets of Bangkok until “the government falls”. All I can say is, “Chock dee” (Good luck) as that doesn’t seem likely to happen.
Bangkok Shutdown did not paralyze Bangkok
Before the Bangkok Shutdown started on Monday, Suthep insisted he and his PDRC protesters would “paralyze the city”. That, of course, has not happened. In most areas of town, traffic simply circumvents the intersections the protesters have blocked off, shopping malls, stores and restaurants remain open, businesses and government offices are still functioning – basically, life in Bangkok is going on almost as normal.
The only difference? A lot less of Bangkok’s horrendous traffic jams on city streets and that has been lovely.
Result? Suthep’s Bangkok Shutdown is an epic fail.
Yingluck Shinawatra’s government still standing
According to Suthep, and the many rally speeches he’s given over the last few months, the goal of the Bangkok Shutdown is to cause Yingluck Shinawatra’s government to fall. So far, the opposite seems to have happened. Support for Yingluck is rising as support for Suthep falls and, if the government is going to fall, nobody in Thailand has seen any signs of that yet.
In fact, as Suthep and his anti-government protesters continue to sit on Bangkok streets, Yingluck’s government is continuing to do what they do – run the country, prepare for ASEAN’s regional economic integration in 2015, and get ready for Thailand’s February 2nd general election. As for Yingluck herself? She insists she will not resign.
Result? Suthep’s Bangkok Shutdown has another epic fail.
Thai elections still going ahead in February
One of Suthep’s Bangkok Shutdown aims has been to stop Thailand’s general election on February 2nd. That plan also failed yesterday after Yingluck Shinawatra held a meeting to discuss the Election Committee’s recommendations to postpone the election. Both Suthep and the representatives from the opposition Democrat Party refused to attend. So, with no representatives of the opposition to negotiate with, Yingluck had no choice but to state the election will go ahead in February as planned.
Result? Another epic fail on Suthep’s part.
Number of protesters joining Bangkok Shutdown falling daily
As the Bangkok Shutdown now starts its fourth day, the number of anti-government protesters joining it falls every day. Most protesters supporting the PDRC are the Thai elite or middle-class Thais and, let’s face it, there’s far less chance they are going to sit on a Bangkok street for three months like red shirt protesters did back in 2010. After all, unlike the red shirts who were mostly poor Thais from rural areas — rice farmers, laborers, daily workers, factory workers — with little to lose, Suthep’s protesters have businesses to run, and high profile jobs to show up for.
Choosing to sit on a Bangkok street supporting Suthep in his failed Bangkok Shutdown attempt for another few weeks, or going back to run family businesses or show up at work to perform their career jobs? The former isn’t even an option for most of the PDRC protesters.
Even on just the third day of the Bangkok Shutdown yesterday, in my area of town near the Central Ladprao shopping mall, there was hardly a PDRC protester to be seen — in fact, the police outnumbered them 2 to 1.
Instead, average Thais were just going about their business, just as they always do – working in stores and restaurants, eating lunch, meeting friends and doing a little bit of shopping. And not one I spoke to supported the Bangkok Shutdown or Suthep.
Bangkok Shutdown? What’s that?
So, after only three days and as Suthep continues to spend his time trying to maintain support for his Bangkok Shutdown, it’s becoming obvious this attempt at overthrowing a democratically elected Thai government and, thus, democracy in Thailand has been an epic fail.
Of course, Suthep will continue to scream, shout, threaten and abuse, as that’s what Suthep does best. For most of Bangkok and the rest of Thailand? They’re not listening.