World News

Despite Protests, Thailand's PM Says She Won't Resign

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says she will not give into opposition demands she resign, despite two days of large anti-government protests in Bangkok.

Mrs. Yingluck told reporters Tuesday she has a constitutional duty to stay on as prime minister, and that only cooperation and dialogue can resolve the country's months-long political deadlock.

"I've stressed many times I have a duty to act according to my responsibility after the dissolving of parliament. I have the responsibility of acting as caretaker. I'd like to say right now, I am not holding on (to my position), but I have to maintain political stability."

She spoke as thousands of opposition protesters filled Bangkok streets for a second day, waving flags and blowing whistles outside several government buildings in an attempt to disrupt official business.

Their leader, ex-Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, said he will keep up the protests, and even threatened to detain his rival if she does not step down soon.

"In two to three days, we'll close all of the government offices. But if they remain steadfast, we'll detain the prime minister and other ministers."

The protests initially aimed to "shut down" the capital. But life continued as usual in most parts of the city Tuesday, though traffic was lighter than usual and protesters blocked several key intersections.

The protests did successfully shut down or prevent from opening several government buildings, though officials insisted work continued elsewhere at back-up sites.

One of the demonstrators, Suwisa Rakpong, is confident the government feels the pressure.

"We think this will help (to remove Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from government), though I don't know how stubborn she is. But she'll probably leave."

The protests have been peaceful, with some describing a festival-like atmosphere. But a hardline group has threatened to take over the stock exchange if the prime minister does not step down within days.

Prime Minister Yingluck has dissolved parliament, called for early elections on February 2, and proposed the formation of a national reform council as a way to resolve the months-long political crisis.

On Wednesday, she will meet with protest and political leaders to discuss the election commission's request to postpone the polls until May.

The opposition has said her concessions are not enough.

Suthep has called for a non-elected "people's council" to replace the current government and implement reforms to end corruption and money politics before any new vote takes place.

Analysts say the prime minister's ruling party is likely to win next month's snap election, which the main opposition party plans to boycott.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Monday said the U.S. is urging all sides to refrain from violence, and it applauds the restraint shown so far by government authorities.

The opposition views Ms. Yingluck as a puppet of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, convicted of corruption and now lives in self-imposed exile.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs