News / Asia

    Thai Military Stages Pro-Coup Rally in Bangkok

    Thai Military Stages Pro-Coup Rally in Bangkoki
    X
    Steve Herman
    June 04, 2014 10:11 PM
    Several hundred people turned out in Bangkok (Wednesday) for an entertainment-filled event put on by the Thai military, which carried out a bloodless coup on May 22nd. The performance was seen as a way for the public to show support for the army’s action and serve as a public relations counterweight to sporadic but illegal rallies protesting the military takeover. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
    Several hundred people turned out in Bangkok Wednesday for an entertainment-filled event put on by the Thai military, which carried out a bloodless coup on May 22nd. The performance was seen as a way for the public to show support for the army’s action and serve as a public relations counterweight to sporadic but illegal rallies protesting the military takeover.

    Thailand’s junta, which has assumed all legislative and executive powers in the kingdom, is hoping to counter these scenes, which have demonstrated to the country and the world that there is opposition to its coup.

    While trying to stifle dissent through a show of force on the streets, media censorship and summoning hundreds of people to turn themselves in, the military is also launching a charm offensive under the banner of “bringing back happiness.”

    In the first such show of good cheer, an army band and uniformed singers entertained the crowd with popular and traditional songs.
    • People take photos of Thai special forces officers during an event called 'Return Happiness to Thai People' at Bangkok's Victory Monument, June 4, 2014.
    • People react during a military event at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, June 4, 2014.
    • A Buddhist monk feeds a horse at the Victory Monument during a military event in Bangkok, June 4, 2014.
    • Thai police officers hold roses given by pro-army supporters behind their back as they stand guard outside the Australian embassy in Bangkok, June 4, 2014.
    • Pro-army supporters hand roses to police officers guarding the Australian embassy in Bangkok, June 4, 2014.
    A sideshow featured some soldiers dancing with citizens.

    There were also opportunities to pose alongside elite members of the armed forces.

    Even the cavalry turned up for photo ops.

    The most popular attraction, judging by the line, was the serving station for free portions of omelette rice dished out by smiling soldiers.

    This all occurred in front of Victory Monument, the venue for several small-scale, non-violent demonstrations against the military’s 12th successful coup since 1932, which pushed aside the caretaker cabinet and the partly-elected Senate.

    For many of these Thais, the army chief’s declaration that democracy is on hold for at least a year - is a welcome and overdue move.

     “I am so happy they’re doing this. They should have done it a long time ago," said a woman.

     “I am happy, as well. They should have taken over previously. I like it. Politics is too complicated," said a man.
     
    The master of ceremonies, Sgt. Nimit Supphaprasirt of the Royal Thai Army band, deemed the three-hour concert a success.

    “Today we are bringing back happiness to the people. [Bring happiness back to Thailand.] It’s for Thai people to be happy, to smile again. Today we soldiers, the police, all the armed forces - everyone, here is happy," said Supphaprasirt.

    The military is planning to take this show on the road, with the next concert planned for Sunday in the capital in order to spread the message that Thailand’s latest coup should be equated with happiness.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora