For the first time since major street protests began seven years ago, police took control of the political rally on Saturday. There is certain to be crocodile tears shed, and half-sincere investigations held. In the end, however, the national police force did what was necessary to protect public order. Their actions prevented yet another victory for anarchy on the streets.
The Pitak Siam rally was ill-advised from the start. Boonlert Kaewprasit misread the mood of the country. It was not sensible to call for the violent overthrow of the government by military force. He only compounded this risible and dangerous stand by adding a demand to "freeze" Thai democracy and political development, to replace it with a five-year tyranny of supposedly excellent elders.
He got his answer on Saturday about whether the country supported his dual calls for the use of force against Thai citizens. But as his rally collapsed around him, Gen Boonlert had the gall to complain of excessive use of force by police against his supporters. Unable to match even the turnout of his October rally at the Royal Turf Club, Gen Boonlert attempted to turn his own series of failures on the police.
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