CRES Botches Up 'Measures' Against Protesters, Govt Scraps Nov 14 Election Date

The short version of Wednesday's events:

Thai army spokesman says postponing measure to cut off supplies to protesters

Tweet by Reuters Breaking News (@REUTERSFLASH)

Thai Govt withraws election offer. Reds refuse to move, nothing now left to lose. Back to Square 1, Take 100.

Tweet by Aela Callan (@aelacallan), Al Jazeera English

The long version of Wednesday's events:

After the ultimatum given out by the prime minister yesterday to cut off water and electricity in the rally area there was some anticipation on what was going to happen on Wednesday night. Residents living near the rally site were already looking for a place to stay somewhere else. But then nothing happened!

The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) on Wednesday night decided to postpone cutting off water and power supplies to the Ratchaprasong area for fear of causing hardships to residents in the area.

CRES spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnard said authorities has to carefully consider the matter because there are a lot of important installations in the area such as embassies, schools and hospitals.

"CRES postpones cutting off water, power supplies to Ratchaprasong", Bangkok Post, May 12, 2010

Looking at the map of the area (by Richard Barrow) you can see that there are many important building like the British Embassy and the Police General Hospital. And after the Chula Hospital fiasco certainly it would be bad press to have another hospital being disrupted - at least they must have been noticed before and plans for relocation of the patients must have been made already, but none of that happened.

It seemed that this measures would have done more harm to the residents in that area than it does on the protesters.

"Firstly, we are using our own electricity generators, so we are not dependent on the public power source," said one, Jatuporn Prompan. "Secondly, if the government decides to cut water ... this will also affect half of the city. So we do not care about the government's threat."

"Thai gov't to cut water, power to protesters", Associated Press, May 12, 2010

Weren't they thinking of that before? How bad is their intelligence? All in all I seriously ask whose knee-jerk reaction it initially was? Was it Abhisit who made his first own ultimatum to the red shirt leaders and thus caught the army off-guard? Or was it the CRES' idea but did not think that through and actually talked to the public utility companies? Either way, they made themselves look foolish and gave the red shirts a small victory.

Meanwhile, the government made clear again that they are fed up with red shirts answer (or the lack of it) to the 'reconciliation roadmap' by calling off the proposed November 14 election date. While the deal itself is not yet off the table the proposed timeframe of dissolving parliament in September and then to call snap polls for November 14 is now dead. Abhisit has earlier mentioned that he would carry on with his 'roadmap' but then apparently without the consensus of the red shirts.

In other news, the red leaders have denied ongoing persistent rumors of a split in the leadership of the movement as it was reported that one of them, Veera Musikapong, has quit (on his own or not) from the red shirts. Veera has not been seen for several days on stage now, but Dr. Weng Tojirakarn assured that he would be just ill and he'll be back soon.

All in all, it was actually an anticlimactic day thanks to a major screw-up by the government. Nevertheless, we are not back at square one as Ms. Callan tweeted before - both sides have hardened their stances (again) and the red sides have a leadership problem among themselves again. Let's see if the government get their act together and start to put pressure on the red shirts - effectively! But on the other hand...

As today is an auspicious day it is unlikely that there will be an army crackdown in the coming hours.

Tweet by Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow)

Nevertheless, right now at this moment...

Ratchaprasong rocking out this am in all it's electrified and hydrated glory. Louder music than normal. #redshirts

Tweet by Anasuya Sanyal (@Anasuya), Channel News Asia