A mass protest to force change is a proper response to a government that shamelessly abuses its power. A display of “people’s power” is a righteous way to express opposition. It is legitimate to demand an election to force out and replace a government that defies popular will. But protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban’s intended takeover of “sovereign power”, including appeals for royal assent, is more than just a step too far; it is sheer dictatorship.
Whatever Mr Suthep’s controversial background and motives, the mass rally he led against the wholesale amnesty bill last November was part of democracy. When the government abused majority rule by secretly changing the content of the draft amnesty bill and sneaking it through parliamentary procedures to pass it when the whole city was asleep at 4am, the public had the right to be angry, and to protest.
The amnesty bill push came after a string of the government’s winner-takes-all policies that defied ethics — particularly the opaque rice and water management schemes. Enough is enough, hundreds of thousands of people shouted as they answered Mr Suthep’s call to fill the streets of the capital to kill the amnesty bill.
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