As Thailand descended into chaos with students being shot at and anti-government protesters occupying key ministries, the internet in Thailand fell silent for a short while on Saturday.
The government side would be happy to have everyone believe that the protesters cut off power to CAT Telecom, knocking CAT, TOT and True / TrueMove’s Internet links offline.
CAT Telecom’s labour union on the other hand, which is an integral part of the anti-Thaksin force, said that a group of masked men came to cut the power hours before the protesters arrived to occupy the compound (which also houses the Department of Special Investigations which was the main target).
People will believe what they will.
Protesters arrived at CAT to find anti-government placards and refreshments waiting for them, thanks to some in the company who decided to go to work on Saturday.
The Thai Webmasters Association, Thai e-Commerce Association and Digital Advertising Association issued a joint statement condemning the attack on information infrastructure and said that the culprits should be brought to justice. But they were careful not to explicitly blame the anti-government protesters while uncertainty lingers.
That said, the government’s track record in the information war is not that great. The Police spokesperson said that protesters had cut off power to a hospital, endangering patients, only for the hospital director to come out and said that no power was cut. That and the way the deputy prime minister who announced the curfew (yes, Bangkok is under curfew now) seemed to get the constitutional amendment (that was declared illegal by the constitutional court, that remains pending and that which the protesters are protesting about now) and the amnesty bill (which was withdrawn, but was the initial focus of the protesters) mixed up.
On a lighter note, the way the protesters moved out of their main camp at Democracy Monument to relocate at Government Complex (home of CAT, TOT and MICT among others) got AIS network VP Saran Phalopakarn grumbling of how the effort he spent connecting up the old site only for the selfie shooting, facebooking, LINE chatting crowd, only to see them uproot and overwhelm another cell site instead.
A network engineer’s work never ends even under martial-law lite, curfew and bullets flying.
Thumbail image from server side store: