News / Asia

    New Round of Clashes Erupt in Thailand

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Interview with VOA's Daniel Schearf in Bangkok on Latest Developments

    Thai security forces and anti-government protesters are engaging in another violent clash in Bangkok's main commercial district, where fighting in recent days has left two people dead and dozens of others wounded.

    Loud explosions erupted from the so-called "Red Shirt" protest zone as security forces fired tear gas and live and rubber bullets into the crowd of demonstrators early Friday.  Witnesses say some protesters set fire to an empty police bus before fleeing the scene.

    Gunshots were heard in the area throughout the night and into the morning, and one building was battered by shells. Businesses and several foreign embassies located in the upscale district have been closed and evacuated.  Mass transit systems have been disrupted as services and stations within the affected zone have been shut down. And the government has extended an emergency decree to 15 other provinces in a bid to prevent more protesters traveling to the capital.

    Friday's violence was triggered when a dissident general aligned with the Red Shirts was shot in the head and seriously wounded Thursday as security forces began a crackdown on the protesters' encampment.  The wounded general, Khattiya Sawasdiphol, better known as "Seh Daeng" or Commander Red,  was struck in the temple while being interviewed by a reporter.

    He is in a coma at a Bangkok hospital, and its director says it is doubtful he will survive.

    Thai security forces have deployed up to 30,000 troops backed by armored personnel carriers as part of an operation to disperse protesters rallying in central Bangkok for the past two months.The unrest which began in early April in Bangkok's Rajprasong commercial and retail area have forced the closure of hundreds of shops, leading to millions of dollars in revenues losses and thousands of jobs at stake.

    On Silom Road, largely empty to traffic and closed off in sections, troops were on standby. Ms. Fah, a resident of Silom, backs the presence of the armed forces. Ms. Fah says the Thai people love their soldiers and are happy to have troops in the area, as well as loving the country's monarch.

    Key Red Shirt leaders said Friday they would press on with the rally in defiance of a crackdown and are calling for supporters to gather at another venue in Bangkok.  That venue, at Rajadamneon Avenue, was the scene of clashes in April between protesters and security forces that left more than 20 people dead and more than 850 others injured.

    But divisions have been reported within the Red Shirt leadership, with some core leaders looking to end the rally after initially welcoming a reconciliation plan offering new elections in November. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is said to have withdrawn the early election date.

    Many protesters support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a coup in 2006. Mr. Thaksin was accused by the urban middle class of corruption and abuse of power. But the former leader, who lives outside the country, still commands support among the urban and rural poor through previous populist policies while in power.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora