For the night of 18 February 2014
Thailand: Update. At least four people have been killed and dozens injured in violence that erupted as Thai police began clearing protest sites in Bangkok. One of the dead was a police officer. Several people were hurt seriously by a grenade apparently thrown by protesters. Police also claimed they were targeted by snipers.
Comment: The protestors are demanding nullification of Thai elections on 2 February. Images of protestors struggling against what they describe as tyranny might fit a TV news snippet, but do not present the truth.
The protestors in Bangkok want an appointed government of "good men." They refuse to accept the overwhelming results of two elections. That means they refuse to accept that the electorate is sovereign.
The Shinawatra government has followed the constitution and won the elections. However, that victory has incited the demonstrators. Regardless of the will of the voters, powerful interests want the government ousted.
It is not clear just how the scenario will evolve, but the Shinawatra government has decreasing prospects of surviving if the disruptions continue. It has no public support from the King. The need for order trumps respect for democracy because order promotes tourism and economic health in Thailand.
Pakistan: On 18 February, former president and chief of army staff Pervez Musharraf appeared before the special court that is tasked to try him for treason. He was scheduled to be indicted at the hearing, but the court decided to delay that process until Friday because his attorneys challenged the court's jurisdiction.
Comment: The jurisdictional question is whether Musharraf can be tried by the special civilian court or must be tried by a court martial. Musharraf's attorneys deny the jurisdiction of the civilian special court. Under military law he might actually be immune from prosecution by court martial. The three-judge special court is scheduled to issue its ruling at a hearing on Friday, according to Musharraf's attorneys.
Ukraine: TV imagery showed extensive fires burning in the center of Kiev on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. At least 19 people have died in clashes between the riot police and the demonstrators. The dead included seven police officers.
Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the pro-Western demonstrators occupying Kyiv's (Kiev) Independence Square - also known as Maidan - to defend their positions. He warned women and children to leave the area.
Comment: As in Thailand, the Ukrainian demonstrators are de facto anti-democracy. Their leader encourages lawless behavior. He and his supporters want a government change that was not voted by the majority of Ukrainians. Thus, they seek to nullify the election that brought Yanukovych to power and which international observers declared to be free and fair.
Patrick Cockburn wrote an essay on the phenomenon of urban elites protesting against and defying the express will of the majority of voters in multiple countries. The international media portray the protestors as freedom fighters, but in fact they are outlaws who refuse to accept the results of elections and the rule of law. The demonstrators also are sore losers.
End of NightWatch for 18 February.
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