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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

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

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
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 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 was 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 on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid