News / Asia

    Protests Shut Down Central Bangkok

    Thai anti-government protesters march in a street, in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 22, 2013.
    Thai anti-government protesters march in a street, in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 22, 2013.
    Ron Corben
    Protesters hoping to stall Thailand's general elections, scheduled for February, thronged central Bangkok on Sunday as part of on-going rallies against the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.  Meanwhile, the prime minister travelled to a governing party stronghold to campaign.

    Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters brought central Bangkok to a halt Sunday in the campaign to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign and put a halt to national elections on February 2.  The protests were generally good-natured.

    Protest leader and former opposition lawmaker Suthep Thangsuban told the crowds he was confident of ending influence in the government by Yingluck's older brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister who protesters accuse of corruption and abuse of power.

    • Thai anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban holds clenched fists during a march with his supporters in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 22, 2013. 
    • Thai anti-government protesters march cross Takin Bridge during a rally, Dec. 22, 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. 
    • Thai anti-government protesters march in the streets, Dec. 22, 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. 
    • Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Thailand's capital paralyzing traffic and facing off with police outside the prime minister's residence in their latest mass rally against Thailand's government, Dec. 22, 2013, Bangkok, Thailand.
    • A Thai anti-government protester holds a banner as she joins a rally outside Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's residence, Dec. 22, 2013, Bangkok, Thailand.
    • Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, center, with his wife Srisakul Promphan, in white, arrives at the Democracy monument, in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • A protester with a Thai national flag walks past concrete barriers sprayed with "Failed Government" outside the fence around Government House, wrapped by a long banner in the colors of the national flag in Bangkok, Dec. 13, 2013.
    • Anti-government protesters remove barbed wire after briefly entering the compound of the prime minister's office, known as Government House, in Bangkok, Dec. 12, 2013.
    • Police wear their riot gear inside Government House, as anti-government protesters gather behind its fence and gates in Bangkok, Dec. 12, 2013.
    • A group of Buddhist monks walk past a sleeping anti-government protester at a protest camp on a road near Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 11, 2013.
    • Anti-government protesters sleep outside Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 10, 2013.
    • Anti-government protesters carry a huge Thai national flag as they march in Bangkok, Dec. 9, 2013.

    Protester Khun Kitina, an employee of a global information technology corporation, supported Suthep’s call to postpone the February ballot due to fears of corruption in the vote.

    "We cannot accept the Thaksin system anymore and as you know they not do anything for the people.  And if we have the election on the 2nd of February it will still have the corruption and Thaksin still have the power for the election team to perform the election.  It cannot be a pure [clean] election from the people," she said.

    Thaksin remains in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail term for corruption and other charges linked to his five-year term in office before the army ousted him in 2006.  But pro-Thaksin parties, buoyed by rural voters, have won elections since then, the last in July 2011.  But largely urban protesters accuse the government of abuse of power.

    The rallies in Bangkok were launched in November after the Yingluck government passed legislation providing a blanket amnesty covering corruption and political crimes dating back eight years.  The last-minute amended bill was seen to favor Thaksin to enable him to return to Thailand a free man.

    Protester Khun Nat, a post-graduate university student, said he supported the call for the election to be delayed until political reforms were implemented.

    "I want to see change in the right way, in the right way that we open our heart and speak together.  We have the democracy, we have to respect the democracy but we have something bad behind it.  We are Thai, we have the right to claim this back to our people," he said.

    The outline for reforms remains unclear.  Prime Minister Yingluck said after the election a national reform council would be set up to work towards widespread reforms.  Protesters said the reforms should occur before an election.

    On Sunday, Prime Minister Yingluck travelled to the northern provinces - a stronghold of the governing Pheu Thai Party, as anti-government protesters rallied outside her Bangkok residence, scuffling briefly with police.

    The governing party appears set to strengthen its grip on parliament after the main opposition Democrat Party announced Saturday a boycott of the poll until reforms are implemented.

    Thailand's Election Commission is weighing the possibility of relocating the venue for the registration of party-list parliamentary candidates in Bangkok, scheduled to start Monday, amid fears that protesters may try to prevent the registration going ahead.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: moommarm from: BKK Thailand
    December 24, 2013 10:23 AM
    "Tens of thousands" ? shame on you VOA
    In Response

    by: Summer from: Seoul
    December 24, 2013 8:41 PM
    I'm curious, shame because the number was much higher, much lower, or "tens of thousands" is just too inaccurate?

    by: sirichitr from: Bangkok Thailand
    December 23, 2013 6:48 AM
    Thai people are not anti the coming election. The protesters are asking for country reform before the election. We do not want the politician that come's from vote buying. Corruption and dictatorship under democracy that ruled the country. Especially the un qualified prime minister, who will not shame Thai people.

    by: Theo from: Los Angeles
    December 22, 2013 9:08 PM
    People asking for reform because under Yingluck &Thaksin system, they can & will win every election. Thaksin control &regulated most police, most military, most TV& Radio station, most newspaper. Fair campaign contribution is impossible because most poor and under-educated, taxi driver, taxi bike are being pay by Thaksin system

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora