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
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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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