News / Asia

Thai PM Declares State of Emergency

A TV screen grab shows Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva announcing a State of emergency in Bangkok on 07 Apr 2010
A TV screen grab shows Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva announcing a State of emergency in Bangkok on 07 Apr 2010

Multimedia

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is facing mounting pressure to end anti-government protests and has declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok and nearby provinces.  Tensions escalated after anti-government protesters entered the national parliament grounds.  

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared the state of emergency in a nationally televised address.  He said the country faced "a very serious situation" and he was taking action to restore peace and order.

Mr. Abhisit's 16-month old six party coalition government faced mounting pressure after hundreds of anti-government protesters surrounded and briefly entered the nation's parliament building earlier in the day.

Some members of parliament and staff had to climb walls to escape, while senior leaders were evacuated by helicopter.

Flanked by senior government members, Mr. Abhisit told the TV audience violations of the law had increased and the government would take legal action against the protest leaders.  

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said "appropriate measures" would be taken, but ruled out excessive force in the implementation of the decree.  Panitan said authorities would "do their best" to control the situation.

"The declaration of the emergency decree is based on the situation that is now affecting the lives and the security of the people," he said.  "There are several activities that are now affecting the normal life of the general public, including activities affecting the safety of the officers and of the public," the spokesman added.

The emergency law provides authorities with powers to arrest, detain and interrogate suspects, as well as to censor or prohibit publications.

The military is also expected to take a higher profile role in overseeing security.  But Panitan said the government had no plans to disperse the demonstrations that have been on-going since mid-March.

The anti-government protests, led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, want Prime Minister Abhisit to step down and call elections within 15 days.  Mr. Abhisit has offered to call elections in nine months.

The protesters, who wear red shirts, largely support former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006 and fled the country in 2008 to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

The emergency decree also follows unsuccessful efforts Tuesday by hundreds of police and military personnel to force the UDD to vacate a prime commercial area of Bangkok.  The rallies at the site began Saturday and forced hundreds of shops and restaurants to close in the popular tourist area.

A representative for Human Rights Watch, Sunai Pasuk, says the location makes it difficult for security forces to move against the protesters.

"It is very difficult if the government is thinking of dispersal of the Red Shirts using the internal security act to vacate the protester[s] from this business community because there will be severe collateral damage to the property, as well as to the life of the protester[s] as well as those who live in the neighborhood," said Pasuk.

Analysts warn the declaration of an emergency decree may trigger further violence by the Red Shirt movement in its bid to force the government to resign.

In the 1970s and in 1992, the Thai military led bloody crackdowns against demonstrators.  But the government has repeatedly said it wants to avoid violence this time, although it has issued arrest warrants for 10 UDD leaders.

Related report by VOA's Daniel Schearf

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid