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Cablegate: Thailand October 10: Courts Active, Streets Quiet,

VZCZCXRO3121
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBK #3071/01 2841014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 101014Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4651
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1093
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6401
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 4951
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9086
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003071

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV CASC TH
SUBJECT: THAILAND OCTOBER 10: COURTS ACTIVE, STREETS QUIET,
ANTICIPATING OCTOBER 13 RALLY

REF: BANGKOK 3059

1. (SBU) Summary: The streets of Bangkok stayed quiet October
10 for the third day after the October 7 violence. As on
October 9 (reftel), the primary action occurred in the Thai
courts, with seven remaining Peoples' Alliance for Democracy
(PAD) leaders turning themselves in to police authorities,
and the Thai Attorney General forwarding the ruling Peoples'
Power Party (PPP) dissolution case to the Constitutional
Court for consideration. Expectations are for a quiet
weekend, looking ahead to October 13, when PAD leaders have
called for a large rally at National Police Headquarters.
Embassy has issued a Consular Warden message warning Amcits
to stay away from the expected rally area. End Summary.

Action in the Courts: PAD, PPP
------------------------------

2. (U) The seven PAD leaders who had not been arrested turned
themselves in to police at the Nang Loeng station at 10 am
October 10, in the wake of the Appeals Court's October 9
decision to drop the most serious treason/ insurrection
charges (reftel). The seven are: Sondhi Limthongkul (the
leading PAD figure along with MGEN Chamlong); Somkiat
Phongpaiboon (also a Democrat Party MP); Phiphop Thongchai;
Somsak Kosaisuk; Suriyasai Kataila (PAD lead coordinator);
Thoetphum Chaidi; and Amon Amonrattananon (seen as the leader
of the August 26 PAD assault on the NBT TV station). Three
senators used their status as guarantors, along with MP
Somkiat, for the posting of bail; the police approved the
bail request in short order and ordered the PAD leaders to
report again October 24.

3. (SBU) Separately on October 10, the Attorney General's
office filed a party dissolution lawsuit against the PPP with
the Constitutional Court. The PPP lawsuit joins previously
filed lawsuits against Chat Thai and Mattchima, both
coalition parties. Most commentators expect it will take
several months for the Constitutional Court to hold hearings
and consider the material in the three cases. The formal
lodging of the PPP dissolution lawsuit will add to public
impressions that the current Somchai administration will be a
short-lived one.

Anticipating an October 13 rally against the police
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) Attention now shifts forward, to Monday October 13.
PAD leader Phiphop confirmed to us that the PAD are summoning
supporters to rally at the National Stadium around 0900 to
march to the Police Department on Rama I Rd. The rally at
National Police Headquarters will protest the October 7 use
of force and the resulting injuries/deaths. (Note: As of
early October 10, 29 individuals, including one policeman,
remain hospitalized in four hospitals. Two civilians remain
in critical condition, including one PAD supporter with
extensive head injuries whom doctors give only a five percent
chance of recovery).

5. (SBU) PAD feels buoyed by an Administrative Court ruling
late October 9 ordering the police to follow international
protocols in limiting the use of force to disperse crowds,
starting with softer methods of crowd control. Despite
evidence that PAD supporters also used weapons and initiated
clashes later on October 7, public sentiment continues to run
strongly against the police, who traditionally have garnered
the lowest trust ratings of any public institution in Thai
opinion polls. The repeated use of "Black October" in media
coverage, and the focus on images of the police action
against PAD protesters early on the morning of October 7, is
a conscious evocation of October 14, 1973 and October 6, 1976
when security forces bloodily suppressed pro-democracy
demonstrators in the streets of Bangkok. Those dates are
touchstone incidents in modern Thai history, and lumping this
week's events under the "Black October" rubric is powerful
even though the circumstances of this October's events are
very different. Septel explores media coverage and public
sentiment in greater detail.


BANGKOK 00003071 002 OF 002


6. (SBU) Because of the potential for renewed clashes during
the October 13 rally, Embassy has issued a Consular Warden
message warning Amcits to stay away from the expected rally
area.
JOHN

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