News / Asia

Free Thai Movement Leader Pledges No Violence

FILE- former Thai Interior Minister and former leader of Pheu Thai Party Jarupong Reuangsuwan speaks at a news conference.
FILE- former Thai Interior Minister and former leader of Pheu Thai Party Jarupong Reuangsuwan speaks at a news conference.

The leader of a new group to restore popular sovereignty in Thailand following a military coup is speaking out about his fledging effort to restore democracy through non-violent action.

One day after forming a democracy movement in exile, the former interior minister of the deposed Thai government is encouraging the junta’s leader to talk with him.

FILE - Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.FILE - Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.
x
FILE - Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.
FILE - Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok, June 13, 2014.

Jarupong Ruangsuwan, who headed the Pheu Thai Party until Sunday, says General Prayuth Chan-ocha should reason with those opposing the coup for peace in the kingdom and to benefit all of its people.
 
Jarupong tells VOA that true victory to rid Thailand of its latest military government may take a long time but he will pursue it “through non-violent means just like Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.”

The prominent, longtime Thai politician announced via social media on Tuesday the formation of the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD).

Jarupong, in a 45-minute interview via Skype, spoke with VOA News Wednesday from an undisclosed location outside Thailand. He said he would not say where he is because that would put his life in danger. Jarupong has defied an order by the junta to turn himself in for interrogation and is currently considered a fugitive by the military, which has established a special team to search for him.
 
No connection with Thaksin

The FT-HD leader denies the group has any connections with ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was deposed in the previous coup in 2006. Thaksin, a billionaire, has been in exile for years and has helped fund the parties which have won every national election since 2001.

Supporters and opponents of the May 22 coup say one aim of the military intervention is to try to rid Thailand permanently of Thaksin’s political influence.

FILE - Soldiers patrol around the Royal Thai Army Headquarters as members of the Radio and Satellite Broadcasters gather in Bangkok, June 18, 2014.FILE - Soldiers patrol around the Royal Thai Army Headquarters as members of the Radio and Satellite Broadcasters gather in Bangkok, June 18, 2014.
x
FILE - Soldiers patrol around the Royal Thai Army Headquarters as members of the Radio and Satellite Broadcasters gather in Bangkok, June 18, 2014.
FILE - Soldiers patrol around the Royal Thai Army Headquarters as members of the Radio and Satellite Broadcasters gather in Bangkok, June 18, 2014.

Jarupong says in the face of guns and bullets possessed by the army his non-violent Free Thai organization cannot fight on its own and will need outside support.
 
Jarupong rejects the findings of an opinion poll taken in the past week showing widespread support for the coup and General Prayuth as the favored candidate to be prime minister.
 
Jarupong says the poll is a “mere joke,” a reflection of a “state of fear.”  Thais nowadays, he says, dare not voice their true opinions. If the army chief is so confident of his popularity, Jarupong asks, why not hold elections soon?
 
General Prayuth has stated that elections cannot be held for a year or more until the process of widespread reform is implemented.
 
An interim, appointed government is expected to be put into place within several months. At present, General Prayuth holds all executive and legislative powers and has abrogated Thailand’s constitution except the article recognizing the King as head of state.
 
Challenge for US

The coup, Thailand’s 19th successful or attempted putsch by the military since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, has been condemned by many countries, including the United States.
 
The U.S. government this week suspended more assistance to Thailand in response to the coup and is considering moving the major regional “Cobra Gold” military exercise out of the kingdom.

FILE - U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel.FILE - U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel.
x
FILE - U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel.
FILE - U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Scot Marciel.

Scot Marciel, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the State Department’s East Asian and Pacific affairs bureau, during Congressional testimony on Tuesday expressed pessimism about a quick restoration of democracy as was seen after the 2006 coup.
 
“Recent events have shown that the current military coup is both more repressive and likely to last longer than the previous one.”
 
The American official notes the junta’s media censorship and the summoning, detention and intimidation of hundreds of people, including politicians, academics and journalists.
 
Marciel predicts the atmosphere of repression will not result in the promised political reconciliation touted by the junta chief. He also told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific that if freedoms and elections are not restored "over time there will be more and more Thai people who will look for opportunities to express their unhappiness.”
 
During the hearing, lawmakers from both parties spoke warmly about Thailand and its long alliance with the United States. But they expressed support for the Obama administration’s suspension of aid and military exercises with Bangkok after the junta took power a month ago.
 
The military takeover came after months of protests against the elected government and years of political turmoil.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: tony lee from: bangkok
June 26, 2014 6:46 AM
Jarupong and Jakrapob team already had the outside help,the powerfuls like;VOA,FT,Nytimes,washingtonpost etc.etc.In fact a non-violence, like Gandhi and Dalai Lama do not need any outside help and it has to be fought inside Thailand.by the way,recent news that Jakrapob was invited by the FT club Hong Kong,later,he was replaced by Robert Amsterdam,any connections?


by: notdisappointed from: Thailand
June 26, 2014 3:54 AM
The Harder Thaksin Shinawatra & His Foreign Backers Fight, the Better…Part 2.

Understand that what Thailand faces is a battle in the streets, in education, in the media, culturally, economically, and politically. To defeat an enemy on the battlefield, you must occupy more of it then him – and you must push him off the battlefield altogether. You take, hold, and entrench yourself everywhere you can. In the media, you must push out the liars and propagandists with truth, pragmatism, and useful information that truly informs, and aids people in making their lives better.

In education, you displace foreign and domestic special interests trying to deform our young people’s minds, and we instead teach them skills to technically, literally shape the world around them through technology and pragmatism. In politics, we take our PDRC groups we made to attend and participate in protests, and develop them into permanent local groups that focus on building strong communities the poisonous influence of Shianwatra cannot enter, divide, and destroy. In culture – we seek to strengthen and promote the nation’s institutions and awareness of their history and contributions to modern day Thailand. Economically, we leverage technology locally to reduce our dependence on the very corporate-financier interests backing Thaksin Shianwatra (and others) and give ourselves full power to direct our future….

These are just some starting points. Thailand is being attacked from all sides, and so Thais must fight back from all sides. Protesting is not enough. Examine how to displace and remove Thaksin’s toxic influence by building something better and stronger where he seeks to infest.


by: Burapha from: Thailand
June 26, 2014 2:13 AM
This man is Thuksin servant. He attends to use 10 million guns in his partner hands to fight with the soldiers.


by: Akearoon from: Bangkok
June 25, 2014 11:48 PM
The longer General Prayuth prolongs the coup situation, the greater might be the overall loss to the nation since there would be many more countries' following suit with the U.S, EU and Australia in pursuing more oppressive measures to the Thai economy. The best way out for him is simply to give up his efforts and return election rights to Thai people as quick as possible. He may have got elected if he entered politics and become a prime minister with dignity and pride. It's highly possible for him because he is so popular now to some circles of Thai people. He can still perform and pursue his or the coup's country-reform program as intended, of course after the election.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid