PAD Enterpret Delay in Eviction as Evidence of Support from Above

Demonstrators at the Suvarnabhumi airport woke up jubilant to another day of occupation. The fact that they were not evicted by police with assistance from special forces from the Navy was taken as a sign that they still could rely on protection from above. The sense of invincibility and defiance was tangible.
“I told you so,” sad one of the staff who last night vehemently had denied the widespread expectation that an eviction by force was eminent.
He had explained that in the unlikely event that they were attacked, they had prepared grenades to fight back the attackers. He knew and claimed to have been involved in the logistics of dispersing them among the front line units dispatched at strategic places along the access routes to the airport.
Meanwhile, leaders on the stage told the less militant ordinary people assembled on the road outside the airport that they should not fear.
“We have no weapons. We have no knives. We are unarmed. Our first concern is your safety. Do not worry, we will not let something happen to you. If the police come, just sit still. If they carry you away they can keep you at maximum for three days. We will make sure your are all released.”
The main greeting among the demonstrators was a self reassuring “They won’t come!”
And so they didn’t. Either because the unpredictability of the movements of the warring factions once again eluded the expected. Or because it takes longer time to prepare an eviction than a few hours.
As a target, the airport is not so easy to take if a minimum of collateral damage is also among the aims of the operation. From the control tower, the PAD will be warned of any troop from within five kilometers of the airport.
One false alarm, that triggered hectic activity around midnight, came from units to the south east of the airport and one of the guards said that was the access option, they were most worried about. Another demonstrator said he was not so worried of the attack if it was only the police and the navy.
“I am really scared that the red shirts decide to attack us,” he admitted, referring to the militant government supporters UDD who have been in street fighting with some of the PAD units a few places around town.
In the event of a a police or navy foce attack, once in the airport, any shooting is highly undesirable as the airport is mainly built of glass. The majority of the demonstrator are located on the top floor in and outside the departure lounge. From here, there is full view to floors on lower levels and throwing of object on attackers would be easy.
The difficulty in retaking the airport also reveals how easy it would have been for police and security personnel to defend if, had they chosen to do so.
I had a heated encounter with some of the supporters, when I suggested that they blew the only chance they had to get out of the airport without any loss of lives when on Tuesday evening they had rejected Army Commander Anupong’s proposal for the Prime Minister Somchai to resign and call a snap election and in return, the PAD should peacefully leave the airport.
I also reminded them that soldiers having had to fight a tough resistance on heir way up to the airport and in the airport up to the fifth floor could easily be expected to be in a blood rage that would be a far cry from a polite policeman asking the elderly uncles and aunts in the assembly to please collect their belongings and get up on the bus.
“Instead you have chosen to sit here and wait for the inevitable attack. Why?” I asked.
The answer drowned in angry shouts and assurances, that they would walk out of the airport unharmed when the time was ripe.
“You just wait and see!”

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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