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Bangkok Protest Situation Deteriorating?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Until yesterday the protests had been largely peaceful, with no major incidents. Yesterday unfortunately saw the first daylight attack with a bomb of some sort thrown from a building into a procession of marchers a couple of hundred yards from the leader of the mass movement. Thank God nobody was killed, but there were a few dozen injured. There have been a number of bombings and shootings, in which I don’t believe anyone was killed, during the nights during this past week. but today was the first direct attack on the protesters and during the day.

My university opened the semester on Monday only to announce that it will be closed for the rest of the week. I dropped by my university on Thursday to pay my tuition. I learned that the protesters had marched into the university the day before. Apparently there are offices of the Department of Agriculture (this is the agricultural university of Thailand) and a national rice research center on the campus, which may have been the protester’s targets since there is an extremely controversial (insane in my opinion) policy in place by the current government that is subsidizing rice at absolutely incomprehensible levels (e.g. vote buying and money lining the pockets of numerous political cronies). Then the protesters marched on the (State) Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, which is just across the street from my housing complex. I was completely oblivious to all of this as I have been holed up in my room all week…. On this same day, the National Anti-Corruption Commission announced, after a year of anti-graft investigations, that they were beginning an investigation into the Prime Minister’s role in the “rice pledging scheme” as two of her cabinet ministers were formally charged with corruption.

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Just for the heck of it, I took a pic of the Bank headquarters from my room window 🙂 The complex consists of the large brown buildings with the white parking structure in between.

We’ll see if the university will actually open on Monday as scheduled. I just hope we don’t have to show up for a day only to have the week canceled again :/

There is plenty of foolish inflammatory speech being thrown around by both sides that doesn’t make the situation any better and it seems like it’s not going to wind down soon as everyone was hoping…  But this is Thailand, believe me, ANYTHING is possible!

Please keep your prayers coming.

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