News / Asia

Bangkok Protesters Demand Reform

Waving flags and placards, Thai anti-government protesters make their way on a street during a march rally from the government complex on the outskirts of the capital to downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 9, 2013.
Waving flags and placards, Thai anti-government protesters make their way on a street during a march rally from the government complex on the outskirts of the capital to downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 9, 2013.
Ron Corben
Anti-government protesters in Bangkok have succeeded in cutting short the ruling party's tenure, but many say new elections are not enough.

Protesters Monday marched through downtown Bangkok's Sukhumvit thoroughfare, a key artery of the city lined with expensive high-rise apartments, shopping malls and office towers.

As news came that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was dissolving parliament and announcing new elections, Apirak Kosayodin, a Democrat Party member, said the dissolution is merely the beginning of broader reforms.

Bangkok Police Station, map of ministries and police stationBangkok Police Station, map of ministries and police station
x
Bangkok Police Station, map of ministries and police station
Bangkok Police Station, map of ministries and police station
"At least at the first step she would recognize the voice from the Thai people but they still have a further process that she needs to work, or the Thai people need to work together for the next reform," said Democrat Party member Apirak Kosayodin.

​Protest leaders have proposed an unelected council to replace Thailand's democratically elected government until elections are held. The prime minister has rejected the demand as unconstitutional and many observers have said it would be a step backward for one of Southeast Asia's most prosperous and politically open countries.

Related video clip: Thailand Protest

Thai Prime Minister Calls New Elections, Protesters not Satisfiedi
X
December 09, 2013 10:54 AM
Thailand's government says new elections will likely be held by February 2, after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced Monday she is dissolving parliament following more than a month of anti-government protests in the capital, Bangkok.

But Democrat Party member Apirak said there is a need for wider social and economic reforms.

"People are really looking forward to the reform process for Thailand to be a much better place, including anti-corruption, decentralization, empowerment for the local government, reform for the education. Thai people will think beyond, beyond even though the government has already dissolved the parliament," he stated.

Such policies on improving education and empowering local government could appeal to voters in the rural north, the traditional political stronghold of the ruling Pheu Thai party.

The party of Yingluck and her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has backed policies that benefit rural Thais, including a controversial rice subsidy that has elevated prices, enriching farmers. But the rice scheme has cost the government billions of dollars and sparked warnings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that it is undermining confidence in the country's finances.

Khun Som, a banker and protester in Bangkok, said the rice scheme is a prime example of the kind of corruption protesters want to end.

"Thaksin do everything for himself; he does not think for the poor people. We want to help the poor people. [But] when they do the rice scheme they only want to get money for themselves - the politician - small amount of money go to the farmer," Khun explained. "The big money go to the politician - we don't want that to continue."

Protesters on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, Dec. 9, 2013. (Ron Corben for VOA)Protesters on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, Dec. 9, 2013. (Ron Corben for VOA)
x
Protesters on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, Dec. 9, 2013. (Ron Corben for VOA)
Protesters on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, Dec. 9, 2013. (Ron Corben for VOA)
It is still not clear what reforms could lead to greater government transparency. But many in Monday's protests like Khun 'Dew', a finance sector employee, says the massive turnout marks an important step. "It's a very important day for Thailand because we don't want the Thaksin corruption. I think people should come out and have their right to protest the country," Khun said.

As evening fell on Bangkok Monday, protesters said they would camp out overnight at the prime minister's offices, continuing a rally that has succeeded in dissolving parliament, but failed to provide a clear path for the next step.

You May Like

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Fake, Substandard Medicines Pose Global Challenge

So-called 'fake drugs' include expired medicines, those with manufacturing defects, and bogus tablets More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: raphael eretz from: nakhon pathom
December 12, 2013 10:18 PM
when the yellow shirts took the aiport one person lost her lifethe govt at the time did not use force,to stop anymore the prime minister stood down.bangkok 91 lost their lives the govt step down? in your dreams this time yellow shirts at it again yingluck steps down tell me who has the people interest at heart?a Frenchman once said I disagree with what you have said but will die for the right of you to say it ( voltare) I wonder if anyone in Thailand has heard that?
In Response

by: Olddog from: Bangkok
December 13, 2013 10:43 AM
The yellow shirts now are a small subset of the current protesters and I am certain that the majority of the current protesters do not condone the taking of the airport by the yellow shirts. The red shirts then and now resort to violence, mainly with their militant brigade with machine guns, grenade launchers, etc. I don't think the people in Bangkok will tolerate that mode of operations anymore and the political gathering of the red shirts in Bangkok will be very very dangerous. I hope that the red shirts' leaders realize this fact. We do have educated people in Thailand who can appreciate the western principles of democracy like the one you cited. We are also smart enough to distinguish between citing democracy in disguise for a dictator and the actual owning and practicing democracy with its various principles in the hearts.

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
December 12, 2013 8:09 AM
Anti-government protesters always lash out at corruption,I wonder why they don't prosecute Prime Minister Yingluck and her government,This is only one legitimate way .
Anti-government protesters always yell for more democracy, I wonder why protesters don't want to take part in a national election.
How hypocritical the protesters are.

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
December 12, 2013 4:08 AM
Anti-government protesters always lash out at corruption,I wonder why they don't proscute Prime Minister Yingluck and her government,This is a legitimate way.
Anti-government protesters always yell for more democracy, I wonder why protesters don't want to take part in a national election.
What hypocritical thugs the protesters are.
In Response

by: Olddog from: Bangkok
December 12, 2013 9:28 PM
They are also pushing the legitimate way to prosecute the cabinet and the majority parties through existing legal mechanisms. If you have time to look closer to the facts, in Thailand, the existing mechanisms to empower good and capable people to govern and to punish bad and corrupt people are not effective and seriously need overhaul. As you can witness the participation of the red shirt leaders in the cabinet and the parliament while they are still being prosecuted, deliberately slowly, for the troubles they caused in the riots of 2010. Looking closer, you can see the exploitation of the current national election in the rural areas by thugs and regional and national level mainly by vote buying. The protesters are not against democracy not election. They are pushing for political reform to fix the mechanism before the next election.

by: stupid
December 10, 2013 6:30 PM
Never in my life would I imagine a bunch of elitists crying about policies (not bribery)....All you are doing is hurting your own self worth....And possibly your future fortunes. You are against the poor being helped? That's what is shown because not once has an attempt been made to teach the poor how to handle the money given to them, instead you say they are bribed....And and now after receiving all of your demands and then some. You create a whole new list.....hitler much

by: luka from: Norway
December 10, 2013 10:12 AM
Because of her Big Brother...

by: nudaeng ng from: Bangkok
December 10, 2013 8:47 AM
As one of protesters, I think you underestimate number of protesters.Actually, there are 9 path to be there at government house and take more than tens kilometers . All path was crowded with people. To be correct your news, you should said that more than millions Thai demonstrators to against PM Yingluck. Most peoples lives in Bangkok and south of Thailand. They are Thai people who capable to reach information about PM Yingluck's corruption very well , blanket amnesty bill for Mr.Thaksin (most corruption politician in Thailand).

by: Leelee
December 09, 2013 9:59 PM
Thanks for a great article! I am still unsure on a lot of things regarding the protests however... If the a political reform does happen and 'people's council' do turn out to rule the country, isn't that more centralised? Who is the people's council?

by: Bangkok Bob from: San Francisco
December 09, 2013 9:51 PM
Yellow shirts seem to be representing the elite and not the "Thai people" in my opinion. After spending two weeks in Thung Krep and watching on a daily basis the redshirts were peaceful and law abiding in their protests while the yellow shirt leaders ,led by that mafia kingpin from South Thailand, were duping their followers in trying tro overthrow the ruling party. Suggestion: If the yellow shirts are truly representing the Thai people then why don't they hold OPEN elections after an honest campaign on both sides. Then and only then can the Thai people make their own choice for leadership w/o being coerced or duped by either party.
In Response

by: Jay in SoCal from: Itinerant
December 11, 2013 12:22 PM
Bob, look a little deeper. You'll find that things are not what they seem. And your depiction of "red shirt" behavior is just flat wrong, considering their history.

Discussion around the issues with Thai governance has unfortunately degenerated into "red" this and "yellow" that. The ideological differences are not about "elite" vs. "poor" at all. They never were. What is simple is the fact is that Shinawatra is not good for Thailand. He proved it from 2001-2006, while doing what every corrupt politician from Washington to Bangkok to Beijing does -- handing out crumbs in high visibility areas while handing over the state coffers to business cronies.

We are all doing Thailand a disservice by looking at the current crisis in simplistic terms. The reporting by the VOA has actually been good. A step in the right direction.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 09, 2013 8:59 PM
Thank you VOA, now I understand some claims that protesters are demanding beyond the dissolution of parliament, that is, anti-corruption, decentralization, empowerment for the local government, reform for the education.

Subsidy from government to rice growing farmers has been executed for a long time in Japan too and now it is going to be faded out in a few years facing the free trade negotiation of TPP. Rural farmers opposed this political change of ruling party at the beginning but has accepted it after all. It is the fact that ruling politicians have got a trade off of seats for subsidy to their supporters in rural farming areas.

by: tedefr1 from: USA
December 09, 2013 8:38 PM
I hope that the precepts of the Buddha will be remembered by all Thais and that sall the unhappiness will end soon.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs