News / Asia

Thai Protest Leader Rejects Emergency Decree

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban gestures as he leads anti-government protesters marching through Bangkok's financial district, Jan. 23, 2014.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban gestures as he leads anti-government protesters marching through Bangkok's financial district, Jan. 23, 2014.
VOA News
Thailand's anti-government protest leader has criticized a recently declared state of emergency in Bangkok and vowed to shut down "every government agency" by the end of the week.

Suthep Thaugsuban has led 10 consecutive days of protests in the capital, attempting to overthrow what he views as a corrupt government and replace it with an unelected people's council.

In response, the government declared a 60-day state of emergency, which began on Wednesday. Though officials say they will not break up the protests, the decree gives the government the ability to substantially widen their powers.

Leading a march Thursday, Suthep said the decree was unnecessary and would not deter the protesters, which he said have the support of the people.

"Within this week, we will shut down every government agency. Civil servants keep telling us to close their work place. They also want us to close down transportation, but we will not do that. All civil servants now are giving their heart to the side of the people," said Suthep.

Suthep's initial strategy was to shut down key government ministries in an effort to get Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign. But when the government shifted its operations to alternate facilities, he called for protesters to block key intersections throughout the city.

  • An anti-government protester wears a mask made of "No Vote" stickers as he marches with others through Bangkok, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban greets the crowd as he leads anti-government protesters marching through Bangkok, Jan. 31, 2014.
  • Police try to clear a main street for an anti-government protest march in Bangkok, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters with national flags gather for a rally in Bangkok, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters hold placards during a march through central Bangkok, Jan. 30, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester holds a national flag in front of a portrait of Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, during a rally, Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters chain the gate of an office for the Land Transportation Department in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • Riot police stand guard inside the compound of the Thai Royal Police Club in Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • An anti-government protester plays a guitar near a barricade outside the compound of the Thai Royal Police Club in Bangkok, Jan. 29, 2014. 
  • A girl reacts at an anti-government rally in central Bangkok, Jan. 28, 2014.

Though clashes with police have been scarce, nine people have been killed in recent weeks, and attacks on anti-government protesters have been increasing.

Adding to fears the violence may spread, a well-known pro-government leader was shot and wounded in a drive-by shooting in northern Thailand Wednesday.

Police said "Red Shirt" leader Kwanchai Praipana was shot twice by unknown attackers at his home in the northeast province of Udon Thani.

The unrest has led some to believe that early elections, set for February 2, should not go ahead as planned. Thailand's Election Commission on Wednesday said it was seeking a ruling from the Constitutional Court on whether it can delay the vote.

Even before the opposition's decision to boycott the vote, Yingluck's Pheu Thai party was expected to easily win the election, thanks in part to the popularity of her brother, the ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, remains very influential in Thailand, even though he was convicted of corruption and lives in self-imposed exile. The opposition says Yingluck's government is effectively controlled by Thaksin.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs