News / Asia

Thai Government Declares Curfew in Bangkok

Thai Red Shirt anti-government protest leaders Nattawut Saikuar (2L) and Wiphuthalang (3R, blue cap) are arrested by police officers after they announced to the crowd their surrender on the stage inside the protesters' camp in downtown Bangkok, 19 May 201
Thai Red Shirt anti-government protest leaders Nattawut Saikuar (2L) and Wiphuthalang (3R, blue cap) are arrested by police officers after they announced to the crowd their surrender on the stage inside the protesters' camp in downtown Bangkok, 19 May 201

The Thai government has declared an overnight curfew for the capital, Bangkok, as violence swept across the capital after military operations brought an end to a two-month long, anti-government protest in in the central part of the city. At least 6 people were reported dead in the latest violence, including an Italian photojournalist, the second foreign reporter to die since the protests began in mid-March. 

Leaders of the anti-government protesters, known as the Red Shirts, surrendered to police and told demonstrators they were ending the extended rally in order to avoid further bloodshed.  Some of the anti-government leaders fled the area as the military moved in.  Amid the chaos, arson attacks broke out across Bangkok at power stations, malls, media outlets and other buildings.  Rioters also commandeered public buses.

 



Panitan Wattanayagorn, the government spokesman, said problem areas remained in the city, after the military's early-morning raid on the Rajaprasong campsite occupied by the anti-government protesters.

"We are now facing a few pockets of trouble in several places in Bangkok. We would like to ask for your cooperation to remain in your own households. The government has declared curfew as you may already know tonight starting from 8 pm to 6 am in the morning."

The declaration followed a day of rising violence after the dawn operation by hundreds of police and soldiers against the anti-government protesters.  Along with the Italian journalist, at least 5 protesters were killed.  Scores of other people were wounded.

Earlier, as troops backed by armored personnel carriers had advanced toward Rajaprasong, explosions could be heard across the city and protesters set fire to rubber tires, sending large plumes of dark smoke skyward. In the financial district of Silom, the military warned the protesters to surrender, firing warning shots toward the camp site.

The military succeeded in retaking the Rajaprasong area together with a local park that had been occupied by Red Shirt protesters by early afternoon local time. The raid by security forces followed government efforts to negotiate an end to the protest rally with an offer to hold early elections.  On Tuesday, the government refused last minute talks with the Red Shirt leaders.

A medical doctor, Dr. Chousak at the Bangkok Christian Hospital, said it was time for the government to act.

"The government has tried to do its best to resolve things with the least casualties. I think at this stage something definite has to be done to resolve things rather than let it drag on."

More than 60 people have been killed and 1,200 wounded in the past two months of protests and unrest. Many of the protesters remain supporters of former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a coup in 2006.  In a statement, Mr. Thaksin sought to distance himself from the violence rejecting government charges he was the mastermind behind the rally.

The protests have been the most violent in Thailand in nearly two decades.  The demonstrations have caused havoc to key areas of the economy such as tourism and economists have warned that economic growth may also be affected due to political uncertainties.

Related Video by VOA's Brian Padden

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid