News / Asia

Thai Protesters Defiant in Face of State of Emergency

A protester holds a placard denouncing the government outside the government house in attempts to "shutdown" Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 17, 2014.
A protester holds a placard denouncing the government outside the government house in attempts to "shutdown" Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 17, 2014.
Ron Corben
Thousands of anti-government protesters were back outside the offices of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday, just days after police had cleared them from the site.  The protesters aim to prevent Yingluck from returning to her office, even at risk of a confrontation with police.

Up to 10,000 anti-government protesters reoccupied key roads outside Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's offices in a show of defiance.

On Friday, Thai police with baton shields had marched into the area held by anti-government protesters for several weeks.

Yingluck had hoped to return to her offices Wednesday.  But Monday, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban challenged the government to retake the roadways.    

Labor Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who heads the government security operations center overseeing implementation of an emergency decree, has vowed to clear all the protest sites within days.

A protester, Sukpan, said the people are still calling for Yingluck's resignation. "The situation; many people want to tell Yingluck to get out.  It is not fair for people.  Chalerm, he speech you cannot trust.  Not sincere, he tell a lie.  Yes, I do not know how long, but at the end the people will win," Sukpan stated.

Anti-government protesters mix cement to be used for building a wall to block a gate of the Government House during a rally in Bangkok, Feb. 17, 2014.Anti-government protesters mix cement to be used for building a wall to block a gate of the Government House during a rally in Bangkok, Feb. 17, 2014.
x
Anti-government protesters mix cement to be used for building a wall to block a gate of the Government House during a rally in Bangkok, Feb. 17, 2014.
Anti-government protesters mix cement to be used for building a wall to block a gate of the Government House during a rally in Bangkok, Feb. 17, 2014.
The government set a general election February 2 in a bid to ease political tensions.  But the results are inconclusive because of an election boycott by the opposition Democrat Party and anti-government protests, which prevented the registration of candidates in 28 constituencies, largely in the south.

The Election Commission and government ministers tried unsuccessfully on Monday to set a new date for voting in those constituencies and other areas where voting was disrupted.

Residents of the northern provinces, who largely support YIngluck, have been hurt by the government's inability to pay thousands of rice farmers under a price support program.  The government is trying to sell up to 20 million tons of rice amid slow international sales.  Analysts said the program could cost the economy as much as $19 billion.

Thousands of farmers have traveled to Bangkok in a campaign to be paid some of the $4.2 billion owed.  

Adding to the government's problems, analysts said economic growth in the last quarter of 2013 was under one percent. The World Bank is warning the anti-government protests will impact investment, tourism and public spending in 2014.    

Protester and chauffeur Benjob Chantes said problems faced by Yingluck's administration are increasing and if another election was held now it could bring a change in government. "Yes, I am sure we are winning.  The government has nothing to do just now.  It is a deadlock for election," said Chantes.

The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Council charges Yingluck is a proxy for her older brother -- former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled Thailand in 2008 to escape a two-year jail term for corruption.

The protests began in November after Yingluck's governing Pheu Thai Party passed legislation giving a blanket amnesty to Thaksin and other Cabinet members.  The Thai Senate anulled the bill, but the rallies continued.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid