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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid