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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid