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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid