After Street Protest Flops, Democrats Resort To Massive Heckling

(20 August)
Opposition lawmakers disrupted the parliamentary debate on Constitutional amendment so badly that
police were summoned to keep order in the House – only to end up in a brawl with the enraged
lawmakers.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party has proposed to amend the 2007 Constitution which was
drafted and approved under the shadow of the 2006 military coup.

Pheu Thai MPs have argued
that the Constitution reflects the dictatorship of the junta period by decreasing power of the
electoral functions in Thai politics. For instance, half of the Senate were appointed by a panel of
so-called experts, and the Pheu Thai Party has aimed to start the amendment plan by focusing on the
section concerning the Senate.

Anti-government groups, including the Democrat Party, opposed the
amendment, insisting that Pheu Thai Party would attempt to sneak in some changes that would benefit the
former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted by the 2006 coup. Mr. Thaksin′s sister, Ms.
Yingluck Shinawatra, is the current Prime Minister.

Today, the Democrats did their utmost to
block the amendment, mostly by shouting and heckling at House Speaker Somsak Kietsuranon as he tried
to facilitate the debate.

Obviously frustrated by the unceasing protests, Mr. Somsak at one
point slammed his hammer on the table and pleaded for calm. But not before he lamented, I have not
used the hammer for some time now, but today I really need to use it.

Eventually, police
were brought in to keep situation at bay. But some Democrat MPs responded by approaching the House
Speaker and caused him to summon even more police officers to provide protection for him.

A Democrat MP was later apprehended and led out by the police after Mr. Somsak expelled him
for defying his order of silence. Other Democrats quickly surrounded the police. Some were seen
assaulting the police officers, while a certain female Democrat MP (whose identity is not yet
confirmed) filled the hall with her long screeches.

After numerous fisticuffs and heckling
and time-outs throughout the 12 hours session, the debate was finally brought to a close at around
21.40.

While the Democrats had deployed the same tactics in disrupting the debate on Amnesty
Bill for those charged with or serving sentence for their alleged political crimes during 2010
unrest 2 weeks ago, the scale of the lawmakers? defiance in the Parliament today is visibly much
higher.

The sense of desperation was clearly in the air. The Democrat Party has already vowed
they would block both the Amnesty Bill and the Constitutional amendment tabled by their nemesis, but
the means to do so has always been in doubt.

The Democrats have no chance in the Pheu
Thai-controlled House and even the street protest organised by the Democrats to pressure the
government into abandoning its parliamentary ventures have flopped badly. Fewer than 5,000 people
have showed up for the protest, and it later quickly fizzled out when it was clear there was nothing
they could do to stop the debate in the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the ongoing anti-government
protests led by the People′s Army Against Thaksin Regime at Lumpini Park is also becoming more and
more irrelevant, its participants thinning each day and its momentum lost.

The excited rumour
about an imminent military coup against the government spread by many anti-government critics on
social network also eventually turns out to be nothing.

Some anti-government activists had
previously hoped for an ?Egypt Model?, a military strongman who would overthrow the government
similar to what General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi did to former President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt last
month.