⚠️ ANALYSIS—Whatever happens in the coming days, the Thai regime has already lost.

Protesters have smashed the taboo that previously prevented open debate about the monarchy. It is a historic development and things can never go back to how they were before. #ม๊อบ17ตุลา 1/19
For decades, the monarchy and military have controlled Thailand and undermined democracy, protected by a climate of fear — very few people dared to tell the truth, and those who did faced years in jail. 2/19
The courage of the mostly young protesters has already shown that Thais are no longer afraid of telling the truth. The protesters have openly called for long overdue reform of the monarchy. They have mocked Vajiralongkorn with witty slogans and comedy crop tops. 3/19
So many Thais are openly criticising the monarchy that it is impossible for the regime to arrest them all. 4/19
The regime is trying the same old tactics to try to contain the protests. On Wednesday they brought thousands of police and civil servants into Bangkok — some carried on garbage trucks — to create the fake impression that this is a conflict among various violent factions 5/19
in Thailand. It's not. Vajiralongkorn is hated and most Thais want reform. Despite all the provocations, the protesters have remained peaceful and sensible. 6/19
The regime also deliberately sought to provoke a pretext for a crackdown by sending a royal convoy carrying Queen Suthida and Prince Dipangkorn into a crowd of protesters on Wednesday. 7/19
Vajiralongkorn, who has become so paranoid that he routinely wears a bulletproof jacket under his clothes while in Thailand, was not in the convoy. He sent out his wife and son as bait to try to create a crisis. 8/19
Two protest leaders, Bunkeanun "Francis" Paothong and Ekkachai Hongkangwan, have been accused of threatening the queen and face life in prison. But everybody can see the video footage of the incident that shows they did nothing to endanger the royal convoy. 9/19
Following this deliberately provoked incident, the regime declared a state of “severe emergency” with gatherings of more than five people banned, protesters allowed to be detained with no legal process, and severe censorship imposed on all Thai-based media. 10/19
This was a sign of desperation and weakness, and exposed the dishonesty of the regime’s claims that it has resorted democracy in Thailand after the 2014 coup.
The protesters are just ignoring the regime’s efforts to silence them. 11/19
Thousands gathered yesterday, and were attacked by riot police using water cannons with toxic chemicals. Thousands are gathering again today. 12/19
The world is watching and if the regime continues to use excessive violence and absurd legal charges against peaceful protesters, it is likely to lead to the downfall of the monarchy and military alliance that has done so much damage to the country. 13/19
If the palace and army are stupid enough to order more violence against the young people of Thailand, they will lose. 14/19
It’s clear Vajiralongkorn will never reform himself and wants a harsh crackdown. All senior military commanders are handpicked loyalists of the king, and the puppet government of Prayut Chan-ocha just does what it is told, so the risk of violent escalation is high. 15/19
But unlike in the 1970s, there is no widespread support for the monarchy at all, and if we start to see mass arrests or another massacre of protesters on the streets of Bangkok, it will be the end of the regime. 16/19
What makes the conflict so tragically pointless is that it is inevitable that the Thai monarchy and military will have to reform. Vajiralongkorn is 68 years old and when he dies, there is no successor who can maintain the power of the monarchy. 17/19
Prince Dipangkorn has a developmental disorder and can clearly never be an assertive king. Princess Bajrakitiyabha could reign as regent, but she can never lead a reign of terror like her father did. 18/19
So it is futile for King Vajiralongkorn to be fighting a war the Thai monarchy is doomed to lose. Unfortunately he doesn’t understand this, and it is probable that many Thais will die before the country has genuine democracy. 19/19

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More from @zenjournalist

14 Oct
⚠️ ANALYSIS—An ominous day is dawning in Bangkok, with the royalist regime apparently eager to provoke a clash with protesters calling for democracy and reform of the monarchy. #WhatsHappeningInThailand 1/24
As so often before in Thailand's tragic and violent modern history, the battleground is Rachadamnoen Avenue in the heart of the royal district. Protesters intend to gather at Democracy Monument and march to Government House. 2/24
Yesterday, police arrested 21 protesters, including activist Jatupat "Pai" Boonpattararaksa as he was giving a speech near Democracy Monument. The arrests took place shortly before King Vajiralongkorn's convoy travelled through the area on the way to the Grand Palace. 3/24 ImageImage
Read 24 tweets
13 Oct
Another great article on Thai royal wealth today, by ⁦@SBengali⁩. The estimate of $70 billion is reasonable and in line with my own estimates, although we don’t know how badly land prices have been hit by the pandemic which has ravaged tourism 1/4 latimes.com/world-nation/s…
Excellent quote from Pongkwan Sawasdipakdi explaining why royal wealth is so central to the debate about the role and accountability of the monarchy 2/4
The article also mentions the extraordinary fact that despite its vast wealth and regular huge donations from Thailand’s wealthiest tycoons, the monarchy also gets around $1 billion a year from taxpayers. The palace is literally looting Thailand. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
12 Oct
The reason Thailand is facing an economic crisis is mainly because the coronavirus pandemic has destroyed tourism, which is essential to the Thai economy 1/4
But taking a longer-term view, Thailand can only be peaceful and stable if people with different views have a democratic right to express their opinions and contest elections fairly. 2/4
If the military and monarchy continue to forcibly impose their views on others and criminalise anyone who disagrees with them, Thailand will never prosper. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
⚠️ ANALYSIS—King Vajiralongkorn is due to depart from Zurich Airport shortly with Queen Suthida "Nui" Tidjai, Noble Consort Sineenat "Koi" Wongvajirapakdi, and a large entourage. Unlike recent visits, which lasted less than a day, the royals will be staying for a few weeks 1/18
The bankrupt national airline Thai Airways was ordered to send Vajiralongorn's favourite plane, a Boeing 777 with registration HS-TKY, to Europe to pick up the king. It landed in Zurich earlier today and is due to depart soon to return to Suvarnabhumi. 2/18 Image
Palace sources say that according to his current plans, Vajiralongkorn will fly back to Zurich on November 1, but he's due to return to Bangkok again on November 5.
It's not clear why he is heading back to Europe for such a short time in early November. 3/18
Read 18 tweets
9 Oct
A disaster for Thai tourism, at the worst possible time when it already collapsed due to the pandemic.

US citizen Wesley Barnes has been forced to apologise to the Sea View resort in Koh Chang over some negative reviews on TripAdvisor and Google. bangkokpost.com/thailand/gener… 1/5
The resort sued him using Thailand’s absurd criminal defamation law, he lost his job, he spent three days in jail until he could post bail, and he faced several more years in prison, so he was forced to issue an apology for stating his opinion. 2/5
By trying to get a guest jailed for a few bad reviews, which would have been mostly ignored, the Sea View resort did serious damage to itself and to Thai tourism in general. 3/5
Read 5 tweets
8 Oct
⚠️⚠️⚠️More comments from German foreign minister Heiko Maas that will cause problems for Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn. 1/6 independent.co.uk/news/world/eur…
Yesterday, Maas told Germany’s parliament that Vajiralongkorn would not be allowed to make political decisions about Thailand from German soil, basically making his presence there untenable. 2/6
Maas has also said that Germany will not tolerate polygamy — in other words, men will not be allowed to have more than one wife. 3/6
Read 6 tweets

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