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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid