THAILAND: Left condemns military coup
During the night of September 19, 2006 Thailand’s military overthrew the government of PM Thaksin Shinawatra while he was in New York to address the UN General Assembly, abolished the constitution and imposed martial law. In a national TV broadcast the next day, Thai Army chief General Sondhi Boonyarataklin said the military had ousted Thaksin because his government was tainted with corruption and cronyism. Below are two initial statements on the coup from the Thai left.
Focus on the Global South
Focus on the Global South views the recent military takeover of government in Thailand as a most regrettable setback in the country’s democratization process.
The rationale for the takeover — that Thai society has become divided as never before in the nation’s history, and that the threats of violence require measures to maintain peace and security — may be an accurate reflection of the current political and social situation. Undoubtedly, corruption and arrogance on the part of the Thaksin Shinawatra government undermined democracy and the constitution, and it led people to challenge the legitimacy of the regime. However, the usurpation of power and trampling of rights and liberties by a group of officers calling themselves the Democratic Reform Council is in no way justifiable.
Indeed, before the coup, there were already attempts to resolve the political crisis by democratic participation within the framework of the constitution. These were forestalled by the military intervention.
As faithful advocates of participatory democracy, we demand respect for the 1997 constitution. This constitution was derived through the process of extensive consultation with all sectors of society, and is the only one that could be rightly called the people’s constitution. Thus, we join most of the Thai people in demanding the expeditious and complete return of democratic rights to the Thai people and an immediate restoration of the people’s basic rights to freedom of information, freedom of expression and freedom of association.
Dictatorship rules Thailand
[Issued by Giles Ji Ungpakorn of the Workers Democracy group within the Peoples Coalition Party.]
Last night the military staged a coup against the elected, but controversial, government of Thaksin Shinawatra. As usual, and in the tradition of all Thai military coups for the last 60 years, the dictatorship claimed to have staged the coup in order to “reform politics”, “protect democracy” and that they had “no interest in taking personal power” and would be “returning power to the people as soon as possible”. And in the tradition of many previous coups, they later sought and received support from the monarchy.
The military have taken over all Thai TV channels and have blocked foreign news channels such as CNN and BBC. The TV is showing pictures of the royal family along with various declarations from the so-called “democratic reform committee”.
The Thai people’s movement had good reason to oppose the Thaksin government, which presided over gross human rights abuses in the south and in the so-called war on drugs and pushed for many neoliberal policies, such as privatisation and free-trade agreements. Yet the Thaksin government retained huge popularity among the poor.
On April 2, 16 million people voted for the government, as opposed to 10 million who voted against. The reason was simple. The Thai Rak Thai government of Thaksin had initiated many pro-poor policies including a universal health care system and various measures to cut poverty. Yet many of those who joined the anti-government movement earlier this year, dismissed the electorate for being uneducated and ill-informed.
Unfortunately, many social movement leaders also took this position. Instead of respecting the poor and the electorate, they demanded that the king sack the government. Although the king refused to do this, the position taken by the anti-Thaksin movement has helped pave the way for this coup.
It is now up to us in the people’s movement to once again struggle for democracy in Thailand. This struggle for democracy can be the only road to real and lasting political and social reform which is much needed in order to make Thai society a more just and peaceful society.
In the near future we shall have to make sure that the Thai Social Forum takes place in late October this year and that this forum forms a nucleus for democracy and social justice.
From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #685 27 September 2006.
Transcript & VDO Clips: Thaksin Shinawatra interview-CNN
POSTED: 8:31 a.m. EST, January 15, 2007
mms://wmscnn.stream.aol.com.edgestreams.net/cnn/world/2007/01/15/rivers.asia.thaskin.interview.cnn.ws.wmv SINGAPORE(CNN) — CNN’s Dan Rivers spoke to ousted Prime Minister ThaksinShinawatra. The following is a transcript of the interview. Riversbegan by asking Shinawatra about his alleged involvement in New Yearbombings in Bangkok.
Shinawatra: It’s baseless allegations. Noone believes so. Because everyone knows who is, who am I. I come fromelection, I come from the people. I owe gratitude to our people. I doeverything for the good of the country and the people. I don’t dosomething that’s stupid.
Rivers: So you had no involvement.
Shinawatra:Not involvement at all. But I would like to express my deep sympathy,deepest sympathy for those who lose, lost their loved ones and also allthose who are injured. And the individuals who are involved must bebrought to justice.
Rivers: This is the first time you’ve spokensince the coup of September the 19th, first of all, you were in theUnited States, in New York at the U.N., when this happened, how did youfind out that this was going on?
Shinawatra: Well I find outjust about four, five hours before, before it happened, but I trying toget into the television station but it’s very difficult at that time Icannot get into it until I can get into channel 9 briefly, but youknow, which I, it’s a rumors at that time but I don’t believe that thiscan happen again in the 21st century.
Rivers: So it was surprise when it happened?Shinawatra:It’s very surprise because you know, but anyway 70 years in Thailand,17 coup happened is very unfortunate but it’s, it’s an event thathappened here in Thailand.
Rivers: Will you go back to, back to politics?Shinawatra:No. No. (DR: Go back as a private … ) Enough is enough. Six years youserve the countries. You been working hard. You sacrifice your timeeven your life. And, even your family life. So it’s, it’s time for meto go back as a private citizen. And contribute to the Thai societyoutside political arena.
Thai generals pull plug on Thaksin CNN interview
Monday January 15, 10:03 PM Reuters Singapore
BANGKOK,Jan 15 (Reuters) - Thailand’s ruling generals censored an entire CNNinterview on Monday with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra inwhich he promised to quit politics and return to civilian life.“No,enough is enough,” Thaksin said in answer to a question about whetherhe planned another shot at power if he is ever allowed back to his homecountry.
The millionaire telecoms tycoon who won electionlandslides in 2001 and 2005 has been in exile ever since the Sept. 19coup — Thailand’s 18th in 74 years of on-off democracy. He conductedthe interview in Singapore.
“Six years, you serve the country,you’ve been working hard. You’ve sacrificed your time, even your lifeand even your family life. So, it’s time for me to go back as a privatecitizen and contribute to Thai society outside the political arena,” hesaid.
Thaksin also denied any involvement in the string of NewYear’s Eve bombings in Bangkok that killed three people and sowed fearsof a turbulent year ahead for the Southeast Asian nation, rattlingdomestic and foreign investors.
“I would like to express my deepest sympathies for those who lost their loved ones,” Thaksin said
Thearmy and its interim appointed government, which is meant to be incharge for a year until fresh elections are held under a newconstitution, have stopped short of blaming Thaksin explicitly for thebombings.
Instead, they have blamed the eight blasts on“politicians who lost power”, a reference that many Thais areinterpreting as being Thaksin or dissident elements in his Thai RakThai (Thais Love Thais) party.
Unfortunatelyfor Thaksin, nobody in Thailand saw the interview as cable TV providerUBC overrode the signal with a recording of the previous hour’sinternational sports report.
Reuters monitored the CNN interview from Singapore and Bangkok.
Lastweek, the Council for National Security (CNS), as the military chiefswho led the coup now call themselves, summoned domestic radio andtelevision broadcasters to tell them to stop giving coverage toThaksin, his lawyer or supporters.
The CNS announced thelifting of martial law in roughly half the country in November but therelaxation has yet to take effect as it has inexplicably failed to gainthe signature of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
As such, thearmy retains the power to censor the media and prevent publicgatherings it deems a threat to national security. (Additionalreporting by David Fogarty in Singapore)
Thailand Summons Singapore’s Ambassador
Tuesday January 16, 2007 6:31 AM
By AMBIKA AHUJA
Associated Press Writer
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Thailand has summoned Singapore’s ambassador to discuss why ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was granted a meeting with a top official during a visit to the island nation, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
Thaksin met recently with Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar during one of many trips he has taken in Asia since being ousted from power in a Sept. 19 coup. Coup leaders say the trips are politically motivated and last week revoked Thaksin’s diplomatic passport.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kitti Wasinondh declined to discuss details of the meeting, saying only: “The ministry has summoned the ambassador of Singapore to discuss the matter this morning.”
Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate comment, but in a statement issued Sunday described Jayakumar as an “old friend” of Thaksin’s and said their meeting was “purely social and private.”
Thaksin has been barred from returning to Thailand since the coup. His travels, including trips to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia, have made front-page headlines back home.
The military council that removed Thaksin has renewed attempts to muzzle the media and its coverage of him. The generals asked broadcasters last week to limit coverage of comments by Thaksin and his representatives in the name of national unity, prompting a media outcry but succeeding in blocking certain broadcasts.
A CNN interview with Thaksin broadcast elsewhere Monday evening was not shown in Thailand.
Cable TV provider UBC decided “not to broadcast the interview” and instead repeated an earlier program, said a UBC official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. The official said there had been no particular order from coup leaders not to air the interview.
CNN representatives in Bangkok could not immediately be reached for comment.
Since the coup, the military and the temporary government it installed have blamed Thaksin and his supporters for trying to cause unrest to destabilize the country. Thaksin has denied the allegations, for which no evidence has been produced.
In the CNN interview, Thaksin repeated that he has retired from politics.
“Enough is enough,” he said, adding that it was time to “contribute to the Thai society outside (the) political arena.”
In a separate interview published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, Thaksin said he would not try to return to power and criticized the new government’s economic policies.
“I reassure them they shouldn’t feel worried about me,” he said, adding that he will not seek to regain his old job - but will remain a member of his political party. He also said Thailand must better prepare for economic competition.
“Whether we like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” he was quoted as saying on the newspaper’s Web site. “And to live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society. Competition is unavoidable so we have to prepare for it.”
Ousted Thai PM Thaksin says will not try comeback
AFP/File Photo: Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, pictured in 2006, said he had no intention of returning…
Slideshow: Military Coup in Thailand
SINGAPORE (AFP) - Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra said he had no intention of returning to Thai politics and had nothing to do with recent fatal bomb blasts, in his first media interviews since he was ousted.
Thaksin broke his silence on his ouster and criticised the economic policy of Thailand’s new military-backed government in wide-ranging discussions with the Wall Street Journal and CNN published and broadcast Monday. “Enough is enough. Six years you serve the countries. (You’ve) been working hard. You sacrifice your time, even your life,” the billionaire businessman told the CNN news channel.
“So its, its time for me to go back as a private citizen and contribute to the Thai society outside political arena.”
Thaksin, who was overthrown by the military on September 19 last year, was quoted on the Wall Street Journal website as saying accusations that he was involved in recent deadly bomb attacks in Bangkok forced him to speak out.
“They were pointing the finger at me, so I thought it was now time to talk,” he said.
Thaksin has been living in exile since his ouster, but the new army-backed government has accused elements linked to him of masterminding bombs which killed three and injured dozens in Bangkok on December 31.
“I’m not the kind of person to do anything behind the back of others,” the former leader told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not my style. What happened was just too gruesome.”
Thaksin was in New York at the time of the putsch, and has since remained in exile, with visits to London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bali and Singapore.
He told the Wall Street Journal that he wanted to return to Thailand, but indicated that he had no intention of trying to regain his office.
“I reassure them they shouldn’t feel worried about me,” he said, referring to the ruling military leaders.
The website quoted Thaksin as saying that he did not intend to run for prime minister again, but would remain a member of his political party. Thaksin founded the Thai Rak Thai party, but stood down as leader after the coup.
He also questioned the new government’s handling of the economy.
The Thai stock market plummeted a record 15 percent in December after the central bank announced draconian capital control measures aimed at halting the rise in the country’s soaring currency.
Investor confidence was further shaken last week when the government approved changes to the Foreign Business Act that would force foreign investors to divest shares in certain circumstances.
“Whether we like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” Thaksin was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.
“And to live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society. Competition is unavoidable so we have to prepare for it.”
Asked on CNN about the night of the coup, Thaksin told the broadcaster that he first heard about the putsch some four or five hours before it happened.
“Its a rumors at that time but I dont believe that this can happen again in the 21st century,” he said.
His lawyer told AFP Monday that Thaksin was currently in Singapore, and would travel to China soon.
The Thai government last week announced the diplomatic passports of Thaksin and his wife had been withdrawn, while the junta ordered television and radio stations not to broadcast statements from the ousted leader.
The Thai authorities appeared to have blocked access to television adverts for the Thaksin interview, which is due to be shown in full on CNN this weekend.
Thaksin’s image appeared for a few seconds, before the channel broadcasting CNN cut to images of celebrities and displayed the text: “Programming will return shortly.”
Thais summon Singapore envoy over Thaksin visit
BANGKOK (Jan 16, 2007): Thailand summoned Singapore’s ambassador today after ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, now living in exile, was reported to have met two Singapore cabinet ministers over the weekend.
A Singaporean diplomat told Reuters the meeting between top Foreign Ministry official Krit Garnjana-goonchorn and Ambassador Peter Chan was scheduled for 0930 (0230 GMT), but declined to give other details.
Thai newspapers reported that Thaksin met Singapore Deputy Prime Ministers S. Jayakumar and Wong Kan Seng over the weekend.
The Singapore Foreign Ministry said the meeting between Thaksin and Jayakumar was “private”.
Coming less than a week after Bangkok cancelled Thaksin’s diplomatic passport, the meeting upset army-appointed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, who said the Foreign Ministry would have to take some “diplomatic actions” on the matter. - Reuters
Thaksin visit sparks Thai protest
16 January 2007, 06:53 GMT
Mr Thaksin continues to make waves in Thailand
Thailand’s military-backed government has summoned Singapore’s ambassador to protest over ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit to the city state. Thailand’s leaders, who have been trying to sideline Mr Thaksin, were angry he was able to meet Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister S Jayakumar.
They are also thought to be unhappy at media interviews Mr Thaksin gave in Singapore, one of which was critical.
Mr Thaksin’s government was ousted in a military coup in September.
The military-backed government stepped up its campaign against Mr Thaksin’s regime on Tuesday as the former ruling party, Thai Rak Thai, went on trial accused of electoral fraud.
‘Enough is enough’
Since being ousted from office, Mr Thaksin has travelled around Asia. The coup leaders fear these visits are politically motivated, and last week cancelled his diplomatic passport.
The Thai foreign ministry said it summoned Singapore’s ambassador to discuss the meeting between Mr Thaksin and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister, S Jayakumar, at the weekend.
“We informed the Singaporean (ambassador) that we are concerned by the political movements made by Thaksin,” Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told reporters.
Singapore said the meeting was purely social and private.
But Thai officials rejected the explanation, withdrawing an invitation to Singapore’s foreign minister to visit Thailand later this month.
In another sign that they are still worried by the former leader, the coup leaders asked broadcasters last week to limit coverage of comments by Mr Thaksin and his representatives.
A CNN interview with Mr Thaksin, conducted in Singapore and broadcast elsewhere on Monday night, was not shown in Thailand.
During the interview, Mr Thaksin said he had no wish to return to politics.
“Enough is enough,” he said, adding that it was time to “contribute to the Thai society outside [the] political arena.”
Mr Thaksin also spoke to the Wall Street Journal, saying that the military regime that had replaced his government should not be in power for long.
“We have tasted democracy, and we believe in democracy. So it’s time for Thailand to restore democracy as soon as possible,” he said.
He criticised the government’s economic policies - such as sudden capital control measures which saw the stock market plummet, only to be partially rescinded the next day.
“Whether you like it or not, we have to live under a capitalist system,” Mr Thaksin told the newspaper.
“To live in it successfully, we have to open up our economy and our society… Competition is unavoidable, so we have to prepare for it.”
He also denied any involvement in deadly New Year’s Eve blasts in Bangkok which killed three people.
“I’m not that kind of person,” he said. “It’s not my style.”
Party on trial
Mr Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party faces charges of illegally financing minor parties and misusing the election commission during controversial polls in April 2006.
The polls were subsequently annulled.
The main opposition to Thai Rak Thai, the Democrat Party, also faces trial later this week for obstructing campaigning during the same elections.
Both parties deny the charges against them, but face possible dissolution if found guilty. The verdicts for both trials are expected early in May.
Singapore blasted for Thaksin visit
A private meeting between Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted Thai prime minister, and a Singapore deputy prime minister has triggered angry reactions from Thailand’s military government, which rescinded an invitation to Singapore’s foreign minister.
Singapore says Thaksin’s meeting with Jayakumar, above, was “purely social and private” [AP]
The government summoned Peter Chan, Singapore’s ambassador, on Tuesday to find out why Thaksin, ousted in a September coup, was granted a meeting with S Jayakumar on a recent visit.
Coup leaders say the trip, like many Thaksin has taken around Asia in recent months, was politically motivated.
Reports of a meeting with Wong Kan Seng, Singapore’s other deputy prime minister, have not been confirmed.
Surayud Chulanont, Thailand’s caretaker prime minister, said on Tuesday: “We informed the Singaporean [ambassador] that we are concerned by the political movements made by Thaksin.
“Singapore should be more cautious about allowing such movements since we have already revoked Thaksin’s diplomatic passport.”
Kitti Wasinondh, a foreign ministry spokesman, said: “The Royal Thai government was dissatisfied with the incident and the explanation.”
Singapore’s foreign ministry said Chan had “explained that the Singapore government regarded this as a private visit”.
In a statement issued on Sunday, it had described Jayakumar as an “old friend” of Thaksin’s and said their meeting was “purely social and private”.
Since being unseated, Thaksin has made high-profile trips to China, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
The Thai government has said that he was behind the New Year’s Eve bombs in Bangkok that killed three people with the intention of undermining confidence in the government.
But Thaksin, who said last week that he was giving up politics, denies he is trying to make a political comeback.
On Monday night, Thaksin appeared on CNN but the interview was blacked out by Thailand’s satellite channel operator, UBC.
Colleagues in court
Meanwhile on Tuesday, members of Thaksin’s former Thai Rak Thai party were in court to fight allegations of electoral fraud.
The party is accused of bankrolling token opponents to stand in last year’s April election, after their main opposition - the Democrats - boycotted and in effect nullified the results.
Hundreds of Thai Rak Thai MPs, including Thaksin, have resigned from the party, hoping to escape penalties, including being banned from political activity for up to five years.
But critics are sceptical about the motives and legitimacy of the tribunal set up after the coup.
They say the military has torn up the country’s constitution, and there is a growing disillusionment over the coup leaders’ promise of elections in October and worry that the military wants to hold on to power.
On the economic front, retailers and restaurant owners say business is slow and investors are smarting from new foreign ownership restrictions.
Thaksin said the post-coup administration, which introduced capital controls in December to stem a rise in the baht and then tightened up foreign investment laws, was taking the country down the road to economic isolation.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
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ตามที่มีกองกำลังติดอาวุธกระจายกำลังยึด พื้นที่กรุงเทพมหานคร และสถานีวิทยุโทรทัศน์โดยเรียกตนเองว่า คณะปฎิรูปการเมืองในระบอบประชาธิปไตยอันมีพระมหากษัตริย์ทรงเป็นประมุข และประกาศแก่ประชาชนทั้งประเทศว่า ได้ยกเลิกรัฐธรรมนูญ ยกเลิกสภาผู้แทนราษฎร วุฒิสภา ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ และคณะรัฐมนตรีที่มาจากการเลือกตั้ง ของประชาชนเสียงข้างมาก เมื่อวันที่ 19 กันยายน 2549 นั้น ถือเป็นการปล้นชิงอำนาจอธิปไตยจากประชาชนเยี่ยงโจร คณะบุคคลดังกล่าวมีอำนาจอะไร ถึงสามารถออกกฎ ออกคำสั่งให้ประชาชนไทยต้องทำอะไร และไม่ต้องทำอะไร เป็นรายชั่วโมง รายวัน ตามความประสงค์ของคณะบุคคลเพียงหยิบมือเดียว..ถ้ามิใช่อำนาจของกองกำลังที่ตรึงพื้นที กทม.พร้อมอาวุธ ยุทโธปกรณ์ที่ใช้กดดัน ขมขู่ ประชาชนผู้รักชาติรักประชาธิปไตยมิให้ออกมาคัดค้าน ทวงคืนอำนาจอธิปไตยที่เป็นของประชาชนอยู่เดิม
ระชาชนเรา ไม่อนุญาตให้คณะบุคคลดังกล่าวใช้คำว่า คณะปฎิรูปการเมืองในระบอบประชาธิปไตย เพราะว่า
ประการแรกพวกท่านทั้งหลายมิได้ใช้การปฎิรูป แต่ใช้กำลังอาวุธเข้าปล้นชิงอำนาจอธิปไตยจากประชาชนประการที่สอง พวกท่านไม่รู้อะไรเกี่ยวกับการเมือง เพราะตลอดชีวิตของท่านเชี่ยวชาญแต่การสงคราม รู้แต่การใช้กำลัง ข่มขู่ เข่นฆ่า คู่ต่อสู้ และประการที่สามประชา+อธิปไตย หมายถึงอำนาจอธิปไตยเป็นของประชาชน การใช้อำนาจนี้ต้องได้รับฉันทานุมัติจากประชาชนโดยเสียงข้างมากจากการเลือกตั้งเท่านั้น คณะของพวกท่านไม่มีสิทธิ์ใช้อำนาจนี้และมิอาจอ้างสิทธิ์ใช้อำนาจนี้ด้วยการใช้กองกำลังและอาวุธ ยุทโธปกรณ์กดหัว ประชาชนให้จำนนต่อ อำนาจกระบอกปืนของพวกท่าน
ในนามประชาชน ผู้เป็นเจ้าของอำนาจอธิปไตยที่แท้จริง ขอประกาศว่า..รัฐธรรมนูญแห่งราชอาณาจักรไทย ปี พ.ศ. 2540 ยังเป็นรัฐธรรมนูญของประเทศไทย มิได้ถูกยกเลิกแต่ประการใดเพียงแต่ถูกกังขังอยู่ในคุกของอำนาจรัฐโจรเท่านั้น และเราจะปลดปล่อยให้รัฐธรรมนูญ ปี 2540 มีอิสระภาพในเร็ววัน
ประกาศ คำสั่งใดๆของ คปค.ถือเป็นโมฆะในทุกกรณี คปค.และผู้สมรู้ร่วมคิดไม่ว่าอยู่เบื้องหน้า และเบื้องหลังจักต้องได้รับโทษ
โปรดอย่าคิดว่ากำลังอาวุธที่ท่านใช้กดหัวประชนอยู่ในขณะนี้นั้น จะน่ากลัว น่าเกรงขาม ยิ่งกว่าจิตวิญญาณแห่งการรักประชาธิปไตย และความหวงแหนในเสรีภาพ และอย่าได้เชื่อว่า บรรดาสื่อมวลชนและประชาชน นักวิชาการที่ชื่นชอบและมอบดอกไม้ให้ท่าน จะสนับสนุนท่านไปได้ตลอดรอดฝั่ง ในช่วงที่ผ่านมาพลังแห่งประชาธิปไตยที่แท้จริงยังมิได้แสดงตน หากท่านยังดื้อดึง และปฎิเสธข้อเสนอจากประชาชน พลังแห่งประชาธิปไตยที่แท้จริงมิอาจให้ความเมตตาแก่ท่านได้ ท่านจะต้องพบจุดจบที่น่าอนาถอย่างแน่นอน
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Thai Premier Delays Emergency Measures, Promises New Election
Thai court sentences anti-Thaksin leader two years in jail
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Transcript & VDO Clips: Thaksin Shinawatra interview-CNN « บันทึกการปล้นอำนาจอธิปไตย
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