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
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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid