News / Asia

Thai Government Again Besieged by Protesters

A supporter of the People's Alliance for Democracy, or the Yellow Shirts, waves clapping tool during the demonstration outside the government house in Bangkok, Thailand, January 26, 2011.
A supporter of the People's Alliance for Democracy, or the Yellow Shirts, waves clapping tool during the demonstration outside the government house in Bangkok, Thailand, January 26, 2011.

Multimedia

The Thai government is under increasing pressure from thousands of street protesters.  Red-dressed anti-government protesters are holding monthly demonstrations to express anger at last year’s bloody crackdown.  And now yellow-dressed protesters have surrounded the seat of government, demanding tough action against Cambodia over a border dispute.

Thailand’s Red Shirts are back on the streets of Bangkok, holding monthly demonstrations.

They want justice for the 90 people killed last May, most of them civilians, when the government ordered the military to end their occupation of a Bangkok commercial area.

Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan says they also want their leaders, now facing terrorism charges, to be released.

He says they do not know when the leaders will be granted bail, so people outside must show their power through peaceful means to show that those who are behind bars do have friends. Jatuporn says everybody asks for them to be released and sees that they have not received justice.

And, as if the Red Shirts were not enough to contend with, now the government’s former supporters, the Yellow Shirts, are on the streets, but not in its defense.

At least 2,000 yellow-dressed protesters surrounded the seat of government this week and say they will stay until it gets tough with Cambodia over a border dispute. These mass protests are becoming almost routine.

In 2008, the Yellow Shirts besieged this same area for weeks, and shut down Bangkok’s two airports, helping to push out two governments aligned with the Red Shirts.

And thousands of Reds blockaded an upscale shopping and tourist area for about two months last year.

The nationalist Yellow Shirts want the government to revoke a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia on the border and expel Cambodians from areas Thailand claims.

“We had so many negotiations, forums, with the government. For one and two years already. Nothing happened,”  Parnthep Pourpongpan, spokesman for the Yellow Shirts said. “So, that’s why we protest.”

The Yellow Shirts want the government to stop cooperating with the United Nations cultural body over the ancient Preah Vihear temple near disputed territory.

The government rejected their demands, saying they would only lead to conflict with Cambodia.

The Yellow Shirts are setting up for a long fight, erecting stages for speeches and setting up tents for shelter.

Protester Phudit Dolpipat set up his tent on a sidewalk near the main stage. He owns a restaurant in northeast Thailand but says he will not leave Bangkok until the protesters’ demands are met.

The Preah Vihear Temple belongs to Cambodia according to the World Court, but the area around Preah Vihear, he says, is Thai territory. He says they are going to lose this area so that is why he joined the rally.

Despite their shared anger at the government, there is no chance of the Yellow and Red Shirts teaming up.

Yellow Shirt protests in 2006 ended after a military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Most Yellow Shirts consider him to be corrupt and authoritarian. Mr. Thaksin lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

Most of the Red Shirts, however, support Mr. Thaksin. They also consider the current government is illegitimate, saying it came to power with military support after two elected governments led Mr. Thaksin’s allies were removed by court orders.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden 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