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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid