The "satellite" rally at Lad Prao Intersection, where a large number of youngsters turned up in raincoats and umbrellas. Photo by Sayan Chuenudomsavad

EDITORIAL: Violence finds no end in sight, but dialogues

The sporadic crashes in the consecutive protests over last week have prompted public concerns that they would lead to more violence and divisive society beyond any healing.

As such, calls on Parliament to take a lead in helping solve the confrontation between the government and the protesters are growing and receiving large support from the public members in the society.

A good signal has been sent out this morning as President of the Thai Parliament and House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said the meeting between him and political party representatives has resolved to have an extraordinary session to address the ongoing political conflict.

Over mid-past week, the simmering conflict had escalated with protests expanding and scattering both in Bangkok and major cities by protesters comprising a large number of youngsters, who were satisfied with the government, and particularly Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who they claimed as a successor of the dictator of his military government and the coup he had staged in 2014.

The first and foremost demand by the protesters is he must leave the office immediately to pave the way for their second and third demands, which are the amendment of the 2017 Constitution and the reform of the monarchy, the most sensitive point to address in Thai society.

PM Prayut, on a contrary, vowed on Friday to continue to stay in the office, saying he has done nothing wrong.

The protests were heightened as the government decided to disperse the protestors, who were gathering at Ratchaprasong Intersection, using water cannons mixed with some chemicals to mark them for further legal pursuits.

The state action has led to the protests to escalate further as the protesters have not bowed down but regrouped in a scattered way across the country and upcountry with new tactics applied, such as no clear leaders, uses of new applications to call for fresh protests to elude officers’ interceptions, and others, putting more pressure on the government.

Sporadic crashes have accidentally broken out of the protests despite an attempt to keep them peaceful by concerned parties, prompting the growing calls for dialogues as such.

Against all odds, there are several good reasons for all concerned parties to consider peaceful dialogues.

First of all, they help avert intense confrontation and consequent violence as feared. Second, they provide a chance for concern parties to address and look into the issues together and find common grounds or seek solutions together.

Amid the protesters’ demands, several issues need further explanation as they are not constructively provided to the public yet.

The Constitution alone invites a vast sphere of discussions, not only about its political or economical related contents but also social and environmental ones, which are viewed and criticized by the protesters and supporters as being too weak to cope with the increasing challenges in modern time. And this needs a platform to work out together.

The future of the country needs close consultation based on facts and sufficient information, and the dialogues provide concerned parties with a platform to serve such the purpose.

It’s a good sign that such the dialogues would be held in Parliament. If successful, Thailand could move up to another step of democracy, moving away from “street politics” to the systematic parliamentary system in an attempt to address and solve its unresolved political problems.

Only when these two sides of the coin find their places in the political sphere in times of crisis and strike the right balance, our politics and democracy could have a chance to grow and become strong against all odds, including future coups.

There is no reason to be against such the dialogues initiative. It actually needs public support to make it successful.

The “satellite” rally at Lad Prao Intersection, where a large number of youngsters turned up in raincoats and umbrellas. Photo by Sayan Chuenudomsavad