News / Asia

Thais Appeal to Army to Lift Curfew in Bangkok

FILE - Thai soldiers stand as anti-government protesters board a bus to head home, at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok.
FILE - Thai soldiers stand as anti-government protesters board a bus to head home, at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok.
Reuters
— Thais called on the army to lift the curfew in Bangkok on Wednesday (June 4), one day after Thailand's ruling military council lifted a curfew in some tourist areas in the country.
          
The military imposed a nationwide curfew, currently running from midnight to 4 a.m., after it seized power in a coup on May 22.
          
In a decision sure to please a battered tourist industry, the military on June 3 lifted a nationwide curfew in some tourist areas, including the beach resorts of Pattaya, Phuket and Samui. The curfew from midnight to 4 am remains elsewhere, including in Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai.
          
The coup is another blow to the country's tourist industry, adding to the economic pain from six months of destabilizing street protests as airlines cut back on flights and concerns over insurance add to travelers' worries.
          
As soldiers fanned out onto the streets of Bangkok - hailed by Time magazine only last year as the world's most visited city -- most shops and businesses stayed open and transport ran normally, but the number of tourists has dropped sharply.
          
Only streams of tourists were seen taking the once-booming boat tour along the Chao Phraya River, which runs through the capital city.
          
Boonserm Kaewkald, a 46-year-old boat driver, said he used to run four or five tours a day, but now he only had one at best.
          
“Please lift the curfew, please lift it and end this faster. We need to return to democracy as soon as possible and they need to return democracy to the people. If there is democracy in the country, tourists won't run away,” he said. 
          
Souvenir store owner Nattapon Artnoi, 62, said he had lost half of his income since protests flared up in November last year.
          
“It is very quiet. Yesterday was quiet but today will be quieter because when tourists know that there is no curfew in other places, they will go there. Bangkok will be even worse. People will move from here to there,” said Nattapon.
          
Tourism makes up about 10 percent of Thailand's economy, and the ebbing number of visitors contributed to a fall in gross domestic product in the first three months of the year, adding to fears the country is sliding into recession.
          
The junta wants to move swiftly to revive an economy that shrank 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid