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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid