News / Asia

Thai Authorities Extend Curfew, Fearing More Unrest

Daniel Schearf

Thai authorities have extended a 10-hour curfew to cover 23 provinces, apparently fearing unrest in the Thai capital could spread throughout the country.  Thai authorities say troops in Bangkok are working to restore order after a new assault ended a nine-week, anti-government protest, leaving at least six people dead and scores injured. 

The night-time curfew was announced as protesters angry at a government crackdown looted and set fire to buildings in parts of the Thai capital.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said soldiers stabilized areas previously occupied by protesters, but acknowledged peace was not yet restored.

"We are still facing with a few pockets of trouble in several places in Bangkok," he said. "We would like to ask for your cooperation to remain in your own household."

Reports of unrest in other provinces and the curfew extension reveals fears of more violence following clashes with soldiers clearing protesters.  The military used armored personnel carriers to knock down protest barricades that have for weeks shut down parts of Bangkok.

 



Despite claimes by protesters that they were unarmed, soldiers encountered gunfire as they moved towards the main demonstration area in a central Bangkok commercial district, resulting in several casualties.

Soldiers showed journalists live bullets they say were found in the protest camp, as well as about 15 protesters they had tied up, including two Buddhist monks, apparently suspected of violent acts.

As soldiers moved in on demonstrators, protest leaders turned themselves in to police and urged demonstrators to go home to avoid further bloodshed.  But some mobs of protesters turned on the buildings and shopping malls in the area they have been occupying, leading the government to declare the curfew.

The protesters, known as Red Shirts, say democracy was stolen from them with the 2006 coup that removed former Prime Pinister Thaksin Shinawatra, and questionable court rulings that removed governments friendly to him.

Thousands of demonstrators had for nine weeks camped under tents on Bangkok streets, demanding the government step down and allow new elections.

An agreement two weeks ago for November elections fell apart after protesters demanded government leaders face charges for April violence.  But the government on Thursday chose instead to squeeze the protesters with a military blockade that led to daily street fighting and the crackdown.

Once peace is restored, Thai authorities will face the difficult task of reconciliation in a deeply divided and now scarred nation.

Related Video by VOA's Brian Padden

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs