Olympic-torch protest set for Saturday in Bangkok

Tomorrow’s Olympic-torch relay is shaping up to be one of the most farcical events in Thailand for years. Even more unbelievable than a girl’s pet puppy turning into a giant panda, 2,000 policemen, four police vehicles, a bomb squad, a canine crew and a 150-strong Chinese contingent will be on hand just to make sure the bloody thing makes it through the city. (Daily Xpress)

What a monumental waste of time and resources and what a way to bow down to the Chinese. To make the matter even more ludicrous, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said:

“A peaceful protest (during the torch relay) can be done in accordance with the constitution. Thailand believes that politics should not be linked with the Olympic Games.

And then, Daily Xpress printed this:

Protesters disrupting tomorrow's Olympic-torch relay will be arrested immediately and prosecuted for public disturbance, police say.

Foreigners will be expelled and banned from returning. Those with residency will have it revoked permanently, spokesman Lt-General Watcharaphol Prasarnratchakij says.

This is BS. I’ve been to many peaceful protests in Bangkok and not once was I arrested or deported.

”If they come here and engage in unlawful acts, they must be prosecuted … if they engage in illegal activity, we will proceed according to the law by revoking their visa,” he says.

Peaceful protests are allowed by Thai law. I suspect that Daily Xpress is playing up translated quotes to make them appear more radical.

Noppadon also said:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have any policy to revoke the visa of foreign national if he/she abide by the law. Foreign nationals can join the demonstration as it is their rights under the constitution. But anyone who snatches the torch or creates disruption during the run will be dealt with according to the law.

The attention this rally has drawn will no doubt lead to a large crowd tomorrow. By the sounds of it, the torch won’t even be visible to the general public, which makes me wonder if there is any point in the torch coming through Bangkok.

Several groups will be out in force tomorrow, including the Free Tibet Network and Students for a Free Tibet.

The meet up tomorrow is at 3 pm at the United Nations Building on Rajadamnoen Avenue.

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