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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs