My column for today is Fashion police, which is, of course, about our experience during the Black Friday protest activity. As you can well imagine, it will be the topic of most of my columns for this week, so let me just point you in the direction of what others, who were there, have written:
Enteng Romano, who was arrested with Dinky, writes about what happened and why.
Edwin Lacierda, who served as Enteng’s lawyer, recounts the experience in The long wait and in The release of the twins (after it was over, two bLAWggers met: La Vida Lawyer had been waiting outside to give moral support).
Sylvia Mayuga also recounts events at City Hall and asks questions about what happened.
Also in the Black Friday Protest Movement blog, pictures and an account of what happened.
Here are the few photos that I took:
Enteng Romano and Dinky Soliman being interviewed shortly after their abduction and arrest
Mr. Policeman in his precinct wondering whether his orders were worth it
Enteng and Dinky awaiting their fate. Beside Dinky is a policewoman well known for her kindness and jolly disposition.
Western Police District HQ, where Enteng and Dinky were brought. One PC in the office featured this crime-fighting software.
Another PC in the same office, with more essential law-and-order-oriented programs running.
Mr. Policeman explaining that t-shirts do not promote tranquility.
Hours later, at the fiscal’s office, where the phones had been cut off the day before throughout most of City Hall.
The news and punditocracy has been buzzing about the Baywalk abductions. Palace says Dinky meant to provoke, reports Malaya; Claudio taunts Dinky for baiting police, reports the Manila Times. And on a more general note, Arrests in RP alarms Norway while Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte says, If this is martial law, just say it.
Neal Cruz tackles the absurdity of the administration arguments. Dan Mariano weighs in with what the implications of the arrest are. Yesterday, Rina Jimenez-David said it seemed administration overkill (Max Soliven in his column, too, said the police overreacted). Ellen Tordesillas is appalled.
Other news and commentary:
A commentary in The Nation strikes a familiar chord: Anti-Thaksin unity makes for an interesting future. It says,
…demonstrators were asked whether they wanted a royally appointed prime minister and government, they shouted “yes” enthusiastically and followed with an eight-minute standing ovation waving miniature Thai flags.
What we were witnessing here was a shifting paradigm of right, left and those in the middle to a common ground. Their convergence near the Royal Plaza was brought about by caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s political arrogance and populism. The phenomenon reflects huge a change in the public perception of movers and shakers in Thai politics. It is no longer confined to particular groups – such as intellectuals, businessmen, labourers, farmers, students and teachers – as in the past but rather a whole group of multi-stakeholders.
The anti-Thaksin movement began as a demonstration to protect the revered institution of monarchy from a dictatorial leader imitating kingly ways…
Starting January, various corruption charges levelled against Thaksin and his cronies have began to sink in…
By late January, the pro-monarchy banners moved slowly into the background as the numbers of middle class at the protest grew exponentially, as well professionals and university students. Their concern over Thaksin’s conflicts of interest, legitimacy and moral authority intensified and quickly turned into rallying points for the coalition of more than 100 civil society organisations, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
In the past week, it was clear at Government House that the glue binding this coalition of the willing is the fear that Thaksin would rob them of the hard-won democratic gains of three decades. Whatever the implications, the movement has achieved something extraordinary, whether Thaksin steps down or not. This kind of commonality and unity of purpose must be tapped and applied more diversely. It would not be a surprise if the anti-Thaksin rallies morph into smaller but more focused ones aimed at bringing him to justice.
Several questions have arisen. Is this a marriage of convenience, or is it a paradigm shift forced by the vulgarity of Thaksin’s populist politics? Will this mass movement lay the foundation of new participatory democracy in Thailand?
It is hard to predict what will transpire in a post-Thaksin era but two issues stand out. The new power-holders – whoever they are and whatever their mandate – will have to deal with political reform, including constitutional amendments, and Thaksin’s future…
The blogosphere has been busily commenting on the Baywalk abductions, too: sketches of a village idiot savant says it’s like wrestling; blog@AWBHoldings.com points out it’s more of the Calibrated, Pre-emptive Response treatment; The Bunker Chronicles and An OFW Living in Hong Kong, and akosimic, and REBOLUSYON2006, and LAGALAG weigh in, too. Carlos Celdran thinks the whole thing was full of crap.
And here’s an interesting online activity: Online snap elections.
The idiot board reflects on the death of an accountant.
The Sassy Lawyer is disappointed in me.