Flash mob turns into flash mass

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The flash mob organized by problem-plagued political firebrand with radical ideas to change the country’s political landscape, Thanathorn Chungrungruangkit, turned out to be a flash mass at Pathumwan intersection earlier.

About 3,000 people or so showed up in response to his call for a concerted move to eventually dislodge the Prayuth government from power.

There is no denying that it was a successful launch of the street movement campaign and Thanathorn promised to the crowd that more flash mobs will take place in other provinces as well. The crowd erupted with cheers, as if the event has been a long-awaited phenomenon.

This was indeed a wakeup call for the well-entrenched military-led group of civilian-mixed administration in power over five years. The scene of energized mob of people of all ages certainly reminded us of the turbulent years with periodic violence including killings before the coup in May 2014.

It was also a hair-raising moment for the “triumvirate of 3 uncles” headed by Prayuth who has the backing of two predecessors in the army. The flash mob reflects a broad spectrum of public discontent towards their arrogance of power over deep-rooted vested interests at the top layer of the country’s economic spiral they protect.

Prayuth responded to adverse attitudes towards his administration with a terse comment that the gathering was unreasonable. He suggested that this depends on the police to maintain law and order.

-Not beyond expectations, the police were quick to react with threats for legal actions against the key organizers including Thanathorn who is never short of legal troubles.  The powers-that-be deem it expedient to contain and control the new pattern of anti-government campaign before it gets out of hand. What’s more. It can gain quick momentum and snowball into a full-scale popular uprising against the Prayuth government.

Likewise Chiang Mai police nipped in the bud by taking legal action against students who attracted flash mob at Tha Pae Gate. There were around 300 at the rally before the police moved in to halt the event.

As of now the flash-mob movement signifies a potential challenge and a threat to the Prayuth clique of fat-cat generals and cronies who have a lot to lose including their ambition to hold a firm grip on power and more days to amass wealth, enjoy perks and privileges.

The flash mob has been perceived as Thanathorn’s ultimate measure to go for broke over his short lived political venture which could end with a court order to dissolve his Future Forward Party. He obviously intends to bring the government down with him.

The immediate response by the law enforcement apparatus may not be able to disrupt the plan for more flash mob movements from now on as declared by the political radical and his friends. He lit the fire and it threatens to spread quickly. The seed of discontent long hidden underground will likely find fertile support of disgruntled folks in deep economic hardships.

More worrisome is what the government plans to counteract. Tough measures, legal or by force, could only aggravate the already fluid and potentially inflammable situation. If that becomes the case then only the worse could happen with unpredictable end.

Cool heads are needed on the government side, and they must prevail over those who lust for tough actions amidst so much uncertainties. The Prayuth government has never enjoyed broad-based public support after losing the aura of the peace-keeping coup which was followed by power being atrophied by disuse. No serious reforms ensued despite his promise.

To a certain extent the fate of the government seems to hang by a thin thread. A sudden outpouring of flash mob like flash floods could bring a devastating end to the “triumvirate of 3 uncles” much sooner than a vague guess.

As of now, anything is possible, so to speak.

Overview/ Sopon Onkgara
Special to Thailandtoday.co
Photo courtesy: Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit Facebook

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