News / Asia

Thai Protesters Occupy State Buildings

Anti-government protesters wear colorful rain coats as they block the road outside the Interior Ministry in Bangkok, Nov. 26, 2013.
Anti-government protesters wear colorful rain coats as they block the road outside the Interior Ministry in Bangkok, Nov. 26, 2013.
Ron Corben
In Thailand's capital, anti-government protestors kept up pressure on the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Tuesday. Protesters occupied more government ministries in a bid to pressure her government to resign.

Bands of roaming protesters crisscrossed the Thai capital Tuesday in a bid to occupy more government ministries and demand workers go home. Thousands of whistle-blowing rally goers targeted the government ministries of agriculture, tourism, transport and the interior.

While protests have grown heated, Prime Minister Yingluck says authorities would not resort to violence. She called on them to obey the law and avoid the use of "mob rule." She has vowed not to stand down or dismiss parliament.

But the Criminal Court Tuesday approved an arrest warrant for protest leader and former Democrat Party member Suthep Thaugsuban. On Monday evening Prime Minister Yingluck announced the widening of internal security laws to cover the capital, Bangkok, and nearby provinces.

Ministries in Bangkok, ThailandMinistries in Bangkok, Thailand
x
Ministries in Bangkok, Thailand
Ministries in Bangkok, Thailand
The Prime Minister said the heightened protests had affected public peace and order and led to the government invoking the internal security act in Bangkok and nearby provinces. She called on "fellow citizens" not to support protests that violated the law.

The internal security laws grant authorities power to impose curfews, restrict access to buildings and ban the use of electronic devises.

News of the tighter security laws did little to stem the rallies, with thousands of protestors seen outside official buildings.

Kraisak Choonhavan, a member of the opposition Democrat Party, which led the protests, says crowds highlighted the popular discontent with the government's policies. "The internal security act will anger them more. They will defy that. We can probably expect more trouble in the next few days and the sit-in in the Ministry of Finance is symbolic to the people's discontentment of the Ministry's key role in the financial policy that has angered the people," Kraisak stated.

Kraisak said a majority of the protesters are from Bangkok. But tens of thousands from provincial regions have also come to the capital, because they are upset over unpopular plans for government water infrastructure projects and the central government's failure to address issues of importance to farming communities.

The rallies were triggered by a parliamentary push by Yingluck's coalition government to pass a controversial amnesty bill covering political protests and criminal acts dating back more than eight years. It also included corruption cases seen by critics as favoring Yingluck's older brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid a two year prison term for corruption.

The bill was later voted down in the Senate but the move failed to stem the growing momentum against the government. Protesters accuse Thaksin of being too influential over his sister's administration.

  • Well-wishers hold pictures of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Dec. 4, 2013, as they camp outside the palace where he is staying in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Thailand, a day before his birthday.
  • Anti-government protesters shout as they break down the barriers at the Thai Police Headquarters in Bangkok, Dec. 4, 2013. 
  • An anti-government protester sweeps the street around the Democracy Monument, Bangkok, Dec. 4, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters sweep the street around the Democracy Monument after weeks of protesting and days of clashes with police in Bangkok's city center, Dec. 4, 2013.
  • An anti-government protester uses a wire cutter in an attempt to break down the barriers at the Thai Police Headquarters, Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 4, 2013. 
  • Anti-government protesters gesture towards riot police outside the headquarters of the ruling Puea Thai Party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok, Nov. 29, 2013.
  • An anti-government protester gestures towards riot police outside the headquarters of the ruling Puea Thai Party of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok, Nov. 29, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters shout slogans outside the headquarters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's Puea Thai Party in Bangkok, Nov. 29, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters march to the government complex in Bangkok, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister leading the protest, waves to his supporters during an anti-government march in Bangkok, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • Supporters cheer anti-government protesters marching in Bangkok, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • A Buddhist monk blows a whistle during a rally outside Interior Ministry in Bangkok, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Riot police stand guard behind barricades during an anti-government rally in Bangkok, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters march toward Thailand's Finance Ministry in Bangkok, Nov. 25, 2013.
  • An anti-government protester fights with police at a barricade near Government House in Bangkok, Nov. 25, 2013.

Analysts expect an intensification of pressure on the government in the coming days. Thitinan Pongsudhirak is a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University.  "The next few days we will see intensifying brinkmanship from the anti-government side. It is very clear there is a coalition broad-based and in large numbers based in Bangkok that wants to change the government. The government is likely to be forced to rely on mobilizing its own supporters," he said.

Pro-government supporters, known as Red Shirts, are largely middle and working class backers of pro-Thaksin governments who have been rallying at a stadium on the outskirts of Bangkok. But analysts say there are divisions among the ranks, with some former Red Shirt groups joining the latest rallies. Analysts fear a clash between Red Shirt supporters and anti-government protestors.

The uncertainties triggered selling on the Thai foreign exchange and share markets. The U.S. State Department joined other foreign embassies to warn nationals to exercise caution in Bangkok, amid fears of escalating violence.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More