News / Asia

Anti-Government Protests Spread to Thai Provinces

SEE VOA'S MOST RECENT STORY ON THAILAND

Anti-government protesters are blocking roads in Thailand's provinces, raising fears the political crisis may spread beyond the capital, Bangkok.  Adding to the tensions, a counter group is pushing the government to declare state of emergency in some provinces and for the military to end the protests.

The People's Alliance for Democracy wants the Thai government to declare a state of emergency in provinces dominated by the anti-government protesters known as red shirts.

On Monday, the PAD also called for the military to declare martial law in Bangkok to end seven weeks of protests led by the United Democratic Front Against Dictatorship.

Sunday, red-shirt protesters in northern provinces began blocking convoys of security forces being sent to Bangkok.

The PAD stance raises pressure in the country.  The group led campaigns to oust former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was removed in a coup in 2006, and later helped force out two pro-Thaksin governments in 2008.  

The red shirts largely support Mr. Thaksin.

Sean Boonpracong, a red shirt spokesman, says provincial supporters took the initiative to prevent the police from coming to Bangkok.

"It was not a deliberate strategy.  There are lot reds outside Bangkok who take their initiative.  And I think that, God willing, the police have cooperated with them," he said.  "There are many police units sent.  But the police are in two minds.  Some are even arriving late."

The red shirts demand new elections within three months.  The UDD claims the government is illegitimate because it was selected by parliament, not voters.

The red shirts, mostly from rural areas and the urban poor, are loyal to former prime minister Thaksin because of his policies to reduce poverty.  But Thailand's urban middle and upper classes say he was corrupt and abused his power. 

An economist at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, Somphob Manarangsan, says the red shirts' civil disobedience indicates the protests are escalating.

"The conflict is going to be expanding to not only in Bangkok - even in Bangkok it is expanding - there are more demonstrations from various groups, and at the same time it is also expanding to the provincial areas; particularly in the north and northeast; that means that the conflict is going to be more difficult to be controlled," said Somphob.

At least 26 people have died in Bangkok since the red shirt protests began in March.  All but one were killed April 10th when police tried to clear a red shirt protest site.  One man died last week in grenade attacks that injured more than 80 in Bangkok's financial district.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid