News / Asia

Rival Protests Pressure Bangkok Officials

Pro-government protesters show a portrait of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during a rally in Aksa, outskirt of  Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 10, 2014.
Pro-government protesters show a portrait of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during a rally in Aksa, outskirt of Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 10, 2014.
Ron Corben
Pro- and anti-government rallies have increased political tensions in Bangkok as anti-government leaders Saturday sought the appointment of a non-elected prime minister. Pro-government supporters are calling for fresh general elections as pressure grows on the Pheu Thai Party-led government amid fears of violence.
 
As political tensions rise, pro-government supporters known as Red Shirts rallied Saturday, vowing to fight on, despite calls for caretaker Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongpaisal to step aside for a non-elected leader before fresh general elections.

The Red Shirts, supporters of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, are calling for fresh general elections under the Pheu Thai Party-led caretaker government.

Thida Tavornseth, a senior red shirt leader, said the rally was to support democracy.

"Fight for Democracy. F-i-g-h-t. Fight for democracy. fight for democracy. We want elections," said Thida.

The Election Commission has set July 20 as a possible date for a new vote after February 2 poll results were annulled following a boycott of the election by the opposition Democrat Party.

The caretaker government also faces growing pressure from anti-government protesters.

The protesters, calling for widespread reforms before elections, have stepped up a campaign to install a non-elected leader after the constitutional court removed former leader Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of Thaksin, and nine cabinet members from office.

Thaksin, ousted in a coup in 2006, fled Thailand and remains in self-imposed exile after the court sentenced him to jail for corruption.

Red Shirt leaders warn they will "escalate their fight" if there is military intervention or the installation of a un-elected leader, raising fears of clashes or bombings in the capital.
 
An anti-government protester raises her arm as she listens to a speech delivered by their leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 10, 2014.An anti-government protester raises her arm as she listens to a speech delivered by their leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 10, 2014.
x
An anti-government protester raises her arm as she listens to a speech delivered by their leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 10, 2014.
An anti-government protester raises her arm as she listens to a speech delivered by their leader Suthep Thaugsuban during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 10, 2014.
The leader of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Council (PDRC), Suthep Thangsuban, called on the Thai Senate to select a new premier. But newly elected speaker, Surachai Liangboonlertchai, has so far remained non-committal about taking such action.

On Saturday, New York-based Human Rights Watch joined with Thai media associations in criticizing anti-government protesters besieging major TV stations threatening to cut off power unless they halted broadcasts of information from government sources.

A speech by Suthep at a rally outside the Government House administrative building was later broadcast on several Thai TV stations.

Human Rights Watch senior Thai Researcher Sunai Phasuk said despite the rising tensions violence should be rejected by all groups.

"In a climate where tension is intensifying like this, the only way to prevent an escalation of the situation is that leaders of all political groups as well as state authorities to come forward and reject the use of violence and instead seek to resolve their differences peacefully through democratic means," Sunai said.

A senior Pheu Thai Party spokesman accused Suthep of besieging the state-owned TV stations in a bid to provoke violence that would lead to a military coup. Security has been stepped up in Bangkok.

The Army commander has ruled out a coup, saying the military would intervene only if Thai police were unable to control outbreaks of violence. More than 20 people have died and many injured since protests began seven months ago.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: M
May 11, 2014 12:43 AM
Voice of America, a blinded and corrupted media. What do you know about Thailand? Who pay you to write this article?


by: An Nguyen from: Singapore
May 10, 2014 11:26 PM
I can't understand circumstance happening in Thailand. Because of several small group of people and individual political aims, citizen of Thailand is dividen though totally. I hope the peace for this beautyfull country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid