News / Asia

Thai PM: Govt. Preparing to Retake Protest Site

TEXT SIZE - +
Ron Corben

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says his Government is preparing to end the seven week long anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok by applying increasing pressure on the protesters.  The government earlier, at a special cabinet meeting, had ruled out applying martial law, while providing $8 million in additional funds to police to step up operations.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says his government has signaled to protesters to end the demonstration as it says a majority of Thai society now wants to see an end to the seven weeks of anti-government protests.

But Mr Abhisit gave no indication on when security forces would attempt to reclaim the area in central Bangkok's commercial and hostel district.

In interviews with foreign journalists Sunday at an army base on the outskirts of Bangkok, Mr Abhisit said he believed a majority of Thai society wanted to see enforcement of the law. "We are sending a clear signal that we've given a lot of time for people to leave Rajaprasong.  Some of them resort to terrorist tactics and also that we are now in the process of cutting off support and seal the area off before we actively move in," he said.

The Rajaprasong area, largely shut down for the past month, is occupied by commercial and retail properties including up-scale markets and hotels. It also has a labyrinth of small shops offering low cost clothes and goods.

Barricades of sharpened bamboo poles and rubber tires border the protest area to defend the camp against security forces. United Democratic Front against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders have said they are ready to fight any moves to disperse them.

Up to 100,000 people either have lost their jobs or face bankruptcy because of the continuing protests. The government is preparing to provide special assistance to the people and shops.

Thousands of the so-called Red Shirts protesters have been calling for the government to resign and call early elections. The government has refused but offered elections in nine months.

The protestors are largely supported by working class and poor in urban and rural areas who favor ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who remains popular among lower income groups but has been accused by the urban elite of corruption and abuse of power.

Mr. Abhisit still hopes mediators may assist to avoid further bloodshed. A clash on April 10 between military and protestors at another protest site left 25 people dead and hundreds injured. "We continue to exercise restraint and patience and the first best solution is one that does not involve violence. But the public patience is running out and the government has to make sure that we can uphold the law and be accountable to what I would say is the majority of Thai society," he said.

But tensions in Bangkok remain high. Increasing public pressure on the government followed a raid by red shirt guards on a hospital located near the protest area saying they believed it was occupied by soldiers. On Friday hospital staff relocated patients to other facilities. UUD leaders later apologised for the invasion.

Analysts, such as the International Crisis Group, are warning Thailand's political system has broken down amid fears a stand-off could lead into "an undeclared civil war".

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid