News / Asia

Thai Protesters Fail to Halt Party Registrations

Anti-government protesters hold Thai national flags as they march towards the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Bangkok, Dec. 23, 2013.
Anti-government protesters hold Thai national flags as they march towards the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Bangkok, Dec. 23, 2013.
VOA NewsRon Corben
Thousands of anti-government protesters in the Thai capital, Bangkok, failed to halt political party registration for the February 2 polls. As protesters blockaded the main registration site, political parties evaded them to sign up.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters surrounded a sports stadium in central Bangkok that was the main registration venue, but candidates from 35 political parties still succeeded in registering Monday.

Some managed to evade protesters in pre-dawn hours, arriving well before sunrise to ensure they can take part. But several dozen other party leaders and supporters who arrived later were forced to retreat to a nearby police station after being challenged by protesters.

Prasaeng Mongkonsiri, advisor to the newly registered Democratic Force Party, was among those forced to take refuge in a nearby police station. Speaking to VOA by phone, he said the election is the best way to ease weeks of political tensions.

"I don't think we should have any problem because we are now in the process of election application. We believe the election is the peaceful solution for the country's problems -- the only way to solve the problem peacefully. So many parties attend the election application this morning," he said.

Prasaeng said three gunshots had been fired into the third floor of the station, where 100 people were inside. No one was reported injured. But electricity and water to the building had been cut.

The Thai Election Commission cautioned that the election still could be postponed, but announced no changes in the timetable.


  • Anti-government protesters jump over the fence during a rally at the Department of Special Investigation on the outskirts of Bangkok, Dec. 23, 2013.
  • Riot police officers try to stop anti-government protesters from storming an office building during a rally at the Department of Special Investigation on the outskirts of Bangkok, Dec. 23, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters scuffle with riot police officers during a rally at the Department of Special Investigation on the outskirts of Bangkok, Dec. 23, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters gather outside Lumpini park during a rally in Bangkok, Dec. 22, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters march cross Takin Bridge during a rally in Bangkok, Dec. 22, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters carry placards during a mass rally outside the house of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Bangkok, Dec. 22, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters wave the national flag in Bangkok, Dec. 22, 2013.

Anti-government protests began in November over a controversial government-backed blanket amnesty bill. But since then they have escalated with several rallies, led by a former opposition member of parliament, Suthep Thaungsuban, drawing tens of thousands to rallies opposing the government.

The protest's main call is for an end to the influence of the Prime Minister's older brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, over the administration. Mr. Thaksin lives in self imposed exile to avoid a two year jail term for corruption. The current government has also faced charges of corruption linked to its populist economic policies.

Protester Khun Maew fears a return of the Pheu Thai-led government will led to further charges of misuse of power and state funds.

She says she wants to see political reforms in place. Otherwise those elected backed by Mr. Thaksin and the Pheu Thai Party will fail to improve the country's outlook, especially over corruption fears.

Other protestors were confident the rallies would lead to the February vote being postponed.

The government, however has vowed the polls will go forward as planned.

Yingluck, campaigning in the governing party's stronghold in the northern provinces, says the elections are necessary to ease political tensions.

But fears are growing that tensions will rise as the polls near. Pro-government Red Shirt supporters in provincial regions are increasingly angered over protester's calls for Yingluck to resign.

Panitan Wattanaygorn, a political scientist and former government spokesman under the Democrat Party, says the Thai Army is increasingly concerned over an escalation in violence.

"The army in particular is very concerned with the confrontation between the various political supporters. On election day if you have a confrontation everywhere in 77 provinces that would stretch out the limitation of the manpower of the military or the police to stabilize the situation," said Panitan Wattanaygorn.

Thailand is now facing increasing tensions, as both Ms. Yingluck insists elections press ahead while the anti-government protest leaders threaten to maintain their rallies in a bid to force the government from office.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lucivaldo from: Toronto, Canada
December 24, 2013 12:36 PM
When The Social, Financial, Trade, Skill Training, And Comfort Of The People Is Not Balanced And Available The Government Can Hold Millions Of Elections, It Will Be The Same. It Will Be Like Changing A Cheating Accountant With Another Accountant With A Difference Mathematical Dictation But Still Stealing. The State Of The Residents Must Be Stable Before Any Police And Government Must Settle. Positions, Arts And Crafts, Availability To Persue Any Talent Or Skill And Showcase Them Must Be Available To All Many Millions Of Residents. There Is No Point In Being Responsible For Residents When They Are Being Punished And Suffering.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs