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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs