News / Asia

Thai Govt Rejects Negotiations with Protesters, UN Mediation Role

Muslim Minority Women in the Protest Camp, Bangkok, May 16, 2010
Muslim Minority Women in the Protest Camp, Bangkok, May 16, 2010
TEXT SIZE - +
Daniel Schearf

The Thai government has rejected an offer for negotiations with protest leaders and says it will continue military pressure to close the protesters' camp in Bangkok.  At least 31 people have been killed and more than 230 injured in three days of fighting between soldiers and protesters.  The government has delayed a plan to impose a curfew on the camp area.

The Latest:

The Thai government has set a deadline of mid-afternoon Monday for women, children, the elderly and other unarmed protesters to leave their encampment in Bangkok's main commercial district.

A military spokesman said Sunday that security forces plan to allow neutral organizations such as the Red Cross into the protest area to encourage people to leave.

 

Thick black smoke billowed over the Bangkok skyline Sunday as clashes continued between soldiers and anti-government protesters.

Senior Lady in the Protest Camp, Bangkok, May 16, 2010
Senior Lady in the Protest Camp, Bangkok, May 16, 2010

Hopes for peace surfaced when protest leaders said they were ready to negotiate with the government.

Their conditions were for authorities to pull back troops circling their camp and to allow the United Nations to mediate the dispute.  

But government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the military operation would continue and U.N. mediation is unacceptable.

He says the Thai government does not have a policy of letting any agency intervene in the country's internal affairs.  He says the government has sovereignty and the Kingdom of Thailand can solve its own problems.

The spokesman also said the state of emergency is being extended to five more provinces because of fears the fighting could spread across the country.  That puts 22 out of 76 provinces under emergency rule, giving the army authority to maintain order and placing limits on the media and public gatherings.

The government demands that protesters leave the camp they established nine weeks ago in a central Bangkok commercial district.

Protest numbers have dropped since fighting broke out Thursday after the government began increasing pressure on the camp.  

The demonstrators have been trying to push back soldiers who are blockading the camp.

The estimated 5,000 protesters still in the camp, while nervous, remain defiant and many are angry.  Almost all of those killed were protesters.

Saman Somjit says he is not afraid of the soldiers but he feels helpless against them.

"Now if I have a gun or something I will go out to kill with the army.  But, I have nothing, you know," Saman said. "Just only sling shot.  But sling shot and M16, how we can fight with them?"

Authorities say some protesters have fired guns and grenades at soldiers.  Protesters deny the accusation and point out that no soldiers have been killed since Thursday.

The demonstrators say a traditional elite in Bangkok, supported by the military, conspired to remove their elected leaders from power.  

An agreement for November elections fell apart when protest leaders demanded the deputy prime minister be charged in connection with an April attempt to break up the protests, in which several protesters died.

Citing security concerns, authorities declared Monday and Tuesday holidays for Bangkok and delayed school openings for at least one week.

But hours after announcing it would institute a curfew on Sunday, the government canceled the plan, saying the situation in the city is "under control."

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid