News / Asia

Political Violence Escalates in Thailand

Anti-government protesters throw back tear gas canisters to riot policemen during a clash at a sport stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 26, 2013.
Anti-government protesters throw back tear gas canisters to riot policemen during a clash at a sport stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 26, 2013.
Ron Corben
— In Thailand, fresh clashes between police and anti-government protesters Thursday left at least one police officer dead and dozens of people wounded.  The violence prompted the country’s election commission to call for a postponement of the February 2 general election, but the government said that would only cause more violence.

Protesters, led by student groups, stormed a sports stadium in Bangkok where officials were registering candidates for the scheduled vote.  They were met by police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

The Thai Election Commission released a statement warning of further violence if the government holds firm to the February 2 poll date. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has previously rejected calls to delay the vote.  She had called the early election following weeks of protests calling for her to step down and hand power to an unelected council.

Economist, Somphob Manarangsang, said there now appeared few paths to ease the political standoff.

"We know that the tension, the situation is going to be more tense, increasingly more tense, with very limited outlet now given the current situation. It's really unbelievable. We can see that the situation this week, particularly this morning, so it is not difficult to foresee the circumstances taking place before the election and even on the general election day," he said.

Some 30 parties have registered for the polls despite the protests. But the opposition Democrat Party is boycotting the vote, saying political and election reforms needed to be implemented before new polls go ahead.

Opposition Democrat Party leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, said the vote would fail to end the political divide in the country.

"The problem we have at the moment with the 2nd of February elections is that people no longer trust political parties and they feel the elections would neither be fair nor credible and the results would not be accepted by all sides regardless of who wins," he said.

On Wednesday Thai Prime Minister Yingluck attempted to answer the demands for reform by announcing the creation of a National Reform Council. The body would consist of some 2,000 representatives would be recruited from various professions to oversee reform proposals.

But the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) that has been staging rallies since November has rejected the proposal. Bangkok has been besieged by tens of thousands of anti-government protestors in recent weeks calling for political reform and an end to the perceived influence of Prime Minister Yingluck's older brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives in exile to avoid a two year prison term for corruption.

The violence is the most severe since 2010 when anti-government protests left 90 civilians and military personnel dead.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Garry from: USA
December 26, 2013 10:00 AM
"...that people no longer trust political parties and they feel the elections would neither be fair nor credible..." Suthep was Abhisit's #2 during his administration. I do not expect unbiased comments from either

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid