News / Asia

Fewer Thai Protests Mean Fewer Security Forces on Streets

Thailand's junta kept many of the thousands of troops and police off the streets as the number of people making a public show of dissent to the May 22 coup dwindled. A soldier stand guards at a shop at Chatuchak market in Bangkok, Thailand, June 8, 2014.
Thailand's junta kept many of the thousands of troops and police off the streets as the number of people making a public show of dissent to the May 22 coup dwindled. A soldier stand guards at a shop at Chatuchak market in Bangkok, Thailand, June 8, 2014.
Reuters
Thailand's junta kept many of the thousands of troops and police it readied to deal with protests in Bangkok on Sunday off the streets as the number of people making a public show of dissent to the May 22 coup dwindled.
 
The military has cracked down hard on pro-democracy dissidents and supporters since it ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last month, seeking to mute criticism and nip protests in the bud.
 
A heavy security force presence at potential flashpoints in Thailand's largest cities has limited protesters to small gatherings, which are often coordinated through social media and mostly located around shopping malls.
 
On Sunday, few protests took place and the security presence was lighter. Half a dozen women outside a mall gave the three-fingered salute that has become a symbol of defiance to the coup.
 
Protesters posted photographs on social media of small groups at Bangkok's main international airport making the same salute, which was inspired by the film “The Hunger Games.”
 
Protesters detained

Police detained four protesters, deputy national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said. Since the coup, authorities have forced detainees to sign statements declaring they will desist from political activity as a condition of release.
 
“Those four people will be brought to the army camp to tune their political attitude later,” Somyot told Reuters. “We did  not use the full capacity of the forces. The protest was peaceful and it has ended now.”
 
The force on Sunday ready for deployment numbered more than 6,000, Somyot said. Army chief and coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha had instructed security forces to avoid confrontation, he said. Police would photograph protesters, identify them and issue arrest warrants later.
 
The military coup in May was the latest convulsion in a decade-long conflict between the Bangkok-based royalist establishment and the rural-based supporters of Yingluck and her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
 
Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and has lived in self-exile since a 2008 corruption conviction, won the loyalty of the rural poor with populist policies and was the real power behind the deposed government of his sister.
 
Yingluck was prime minister until May 7, when a court found her guilty of abuse of power and she stepped down.
 
The army toppled the remnants of her government on May 22, saying it needed to restore order after six months of sometimes violent anti-government protests that had brought the economy to the brink of recession.
 
Thailand has been without a properly functioning government since December, when Yingluck dissolved parliament and called a February election in a bid to end anti-government protests. But protesters disrupted the vote, the election was annulled, and her caretaker government limped on until Prayuth seized power.

Foreign investments

The military has moved swiftly to revive the economy, and has given itself two months to clear a backlog of applications from local and foreign investors to spend more than $21 billion on projects in Thailand.
 
The backlog arose because Yingluck's caretaker government lacked the power to appoint a new team to run the Board of Investment to replace executives whose term ended in October.

Prayuth on Saturday declared himself the head of the body considering the investment applications, a position typically held by the prime minister.
 
Quick approval would bring longer-term stimulus to the economy and follow the payment of billions of dollars in subsidy arrears to rice farmers that has already lifted consumer sentiment.
 
The military's move to pay debts to farmers quickly after seizing power contributed to the first rise in consumer sentiment in 14 months in May. Political turmoil had sunk consumers confidence to a 12-month low in April.
 
The junta is reviewing infrastructure projects planned by the previous government but delayed during the protests and will press ahead with some. Among those under review are several
 
In the face of international condemnation of the coup, Prayuth has asked for patience for at least a year while the military engineers reforms that he says the country needs before democracy can be reinstated.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Carrie B from: Switzerland
June 08, 2014 11:18 AM
The most telling part of this article is the statement “Those four people will be brought to the army camp to tune their political attitude later,” Somyot told Reuters. “
"Tune their political attitude"!! Just another way of saying punish them until they agree with us. Telling shades of all brutal and dictatorial systems, and an indication of what this coup really might be - just another greedy, vindictive grasping of power and self aggrandisement. Will we never learn that power taken and enforced by violence will never be true power? Is humanity so self-centred and selfishly self-deceiving that it continues to grab at power with a gun? I find it so sad that the Thai people have become the latest in a long line of those who are forced to suffer at the hands of a self righteous military dictator who hides behind the ideals of democracy - yet makes such threatening statements as this. It's appalling how little the western world has reacted to this situation - perhaps if there was oil involved it would be different? Cynical? Maybe, but does that make it any less true?
Obviously there may be good reasons for the military to execute a coup within a country - but they would have to be very urgent and extreme. Nevertheless, any subsequent suppression of the freedom and rights of the people is anathema to democracy. The statements made by the junta regarding the future re-instatement of democracy, and the statement of "Tuning attitudes", are totally contradictory - and worryingly telling.
In Response

by: oldpatong from: The future
June 08, 2014 3:43 PM
There will be no peace until Gort arrives!

btw, where is your indignation for your countries "financial policies" where they let the greedy rich of the world "hide" their fortunes under your roof? Karma? Things are changing...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs