News / Asia

Thai PM: Govt. Preparing to Retake Protest Site

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

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid