News / Asia

Thai Coup Faces Organized Opposition

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.
The first sign of organized opposition to Thailand's military coup has emerged, with an ex-government minister vowing to work with fellow dissidents to restore "democratic principles."
 
The formation of the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy was announced Tuesday in an open letter by Jarupong Ruangsuwan.
 
Jarupong was the head of the Pheu Thai party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was ousted by a Constitutional Court ruling just before the military takeover in May.
 
He said the new campaign will help organize resistance, both inside and outside the country, to the military, which he said was undemocratic and trying to preserve its role in politics.
 


Acting foreign minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow dismissed the announcement, saying there was "only one legitimate government" in Thailand.
 
It is not clear where the group will be based or how it even will oppose the junta, which has cracked down harshly on any sign of protest against its takeover.
 
Peter Warr, a Thai expert at the Australian National University, told VOA the military is "firmly in control" for now.
 
"It's quite understandable that some of the Red Shirt people would be trying to form groups like this outside the reach of the military junta. But as of yet, I don't think it's important,” said Warr.
 
The group is made up of a coalition of ex-lawmakers, academics and others in the so-called Red Shirt movement.
 
The Red Shirts are generally supporters of Yingluck's brother, ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.
 
Thaksin, who is living in self-imposed exile, is not believed to have joined the anti-coup movement announced Tuesday.
 
Opponents of Thaksin took to the streets in November to protest Yingluck's rule, saying she was hopelessly corrupt and a puppet of her brother.
 
Thaksin and his allies have won every election since 2001, but his critics say he has done so by buying votes from the country's rural poor.
 
About 30 people died during the six months of anti-government protests, leading Army General Prayuth Chan-ocha to seize power on May 22.
 
The general, which heads a military that has attempted or carried out 19 coups in the last 82 years, says he has no intention of staying in power permanently, but he has also said civilian rule cannot be restored until the violence calms down and Thailand's political opponents are reconciled.
 
Warr believes the military does not want to stay in power long-term, since it has proven in the past to be ineffective at governing.
 
He said the junta should try to move the country away from an overly centralized "winner takes all" style of government toward a more provincial model that would more accurately reflect Thailand's political divide.
 
"The governments of the provinces are not democratically elected. That has to change. Democracy has to be decentralized to the regional level and the power of the regional provincial governments to raise revenue and in particular to spend revenue - that power has to be largely decentralized," said Warr.
 
Warr also said the military should stop suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of the press and committing other rights violations.
 
The military has detained or summoned hundreds of politicians, academics, activists and journalists from both sides of the political spectrum.
 
Most were released within a week or two, but only after they promised to not leave the country or engage in political activity.
 
Under a sweeping martial law, the junta has also imposed sweeping restrictions on the media and banned gatherings of more than five people.
 
On Monday, Thailand's police force offered a reward of $15 to anyone providing pictures of those thought to be displaying opposition to the coup.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: osuagwu
June 25, 2014 2:14 AM
The way the Thai Prime Minister was removed from office is very reckless. The government organs that should protect democracy failed to uphold the elected government only to grab power and now plunge Thailand into a primeval dictatorship.
There is need to force the military back to their barracks. The duties they have arrogated upon themselves is illegal.

In Response

by: Alex from: Bangkok
June 26, 2014 9:21 AM
Most of Thais support the "the dictatorship" by the way.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid