Bangkok Crime Scene: The Politics of the Mob
There is the sound of thunder to the West. The Bangkok sky is ghoulish gray. Outside my window the motorcycle taxi boys are scanning the sky. Inside their offices, workers are scanning the Internet and Thai TV for news. Petitions have been lodged with the Thai judiciary. The government has requested an injunction and for arrest warrants naming five mob leaders.
Last night a mob (some estimate to be 25,000) occupied a radio/TV complex in Bangkok, and later broke into and occupied Government House. Tempers are on edge. Violence is in the air. But the police and military have exercised restraint. There is tension and uncertainty as everyone hunkers down and waits for the final confrontations on the streets to play out. Forces hidden out of sight are huddling, contemplating, weighing, and planning. One plan is to starve them into submission. No food is allowed into the building. No keys given out to the washroom.
No one can say as I write this from Sukhumvit Road what will be the political outcome. All that can be said on this Wednesday afternoon in Thailand is that the thunder in the background is a perfect prelude to Act II.
There are small crimes, big crimes, and then there are political clashes between forces, each with their own vision of how society ought to function. Sometimes they mix and match, with the robbers and thugs blending in with the true believers. For a novelist or a journalist, the unfolding drama of mobs challenging the government are unsettling, but yield much in terms of the human condition when pushed to a critical limit. However unlike a good crime fiction novel, we can’t quite yet turn the page to see who comes out on top. May be it will be a draw. Or may be this is just the start of something that will get out of hand.
So far no one has been killed.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
You can follow developments on these links:
The Bangkok Post: http://www.bangkokpost.com/index.php
Bangkok Pundit: http://bangkokpundit.blogspot.com/
Absolutely Bangkok: http://absolutelybangkok.com/live-finally-the-final-showdown/#comment-1355