News / Asia

Thai Protests Abruptly Halt Ahead of King's Birthday

Thai Protesters Celebrate Truce Ahead of King's Birthdayi
X
December 03, 2013 4:04 PM
After days of intensifying protests in Thailand's capital, clashes abruptly ceased Tuesday as police took down barricades and allowed protesters onto the grounds of Government House and other fortified compounds. The apparent truce comes ahead of Thursday's 86th birthday of Thailand's revered monarch. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok reports that although the democratically elected prime minister remains in power, the opposition is jubilant.
Thai Protesters Celebrate Truce Ahead of King's Birthday
Following days of clashes in Bangkok, Thailand’s prime minister is calling for all segments of society, including protesters, to work together to find a solution to the upheaval in the politically polarized country. A key opposition leader, however, is vowing to continue the struggle to bring down the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

The intensifying protests in Thailand's capital abruptly ceased Tuesday as police took down barricades and allowed protesters onto the grounds of Government House and other fortified compounds.
 
The apparent truce, ahead of Thursday's 86th birthday of Thailand's revered monarch, led to a scene hardly imaginable the previous day: a crowd of anti-government demonstrators sitting peacefully on the lawn of Government House, the seat of political power in Thailand.
 
Political Developments in Thailand

2006: Army overthrows Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
2007: Pro-Thaksin People Power Party wins elections
2008: Anti-Thaksin protesters, known as Yellow Shirts, stage months of demonstrations, briefly paralyze airports. Abhisit Vejjajiva becomes prime minister.
2010: Massive pro-Thaksin "Red Shirt" protests held in Bangkok, dozens killed
2011: Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of Thaksin, elected prime minister
2013: Anti-government protesters hold massive street demonstrations
But just what has been achieved by the temporary occupation of the grounds puzzles supporters, such as Saidin Chaohinfah, who said she is not sure whether her side has won or lost. They'll have to wait and see. But she said she talked with the police and they are happy, as well.
 
Tuesday's festivities are no guarantee that this conflict is over.
 
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban celebrated the brief occupation of key government buildings, but admitted the goal of removing the Thaksin family from power remains incomplete.
 
At Government House, demonstrator Silapachai Nisapa noted the obvious: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is still leading Thailand’s government.
 
  • A woman poses on a downed barricade at the entrance to the government complex in Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A protester waves a Thai flag at the entrance of Government House after barricades were taken down, Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Anti-government protesters on the lawn of Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A medical team leaves the government complex in Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A drone flies above Government House capturing video of the crowd below, Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Fallen barricades on a bridge at the entrance to Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • A vandalized police van on a Bangkok street, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
  • Anti-government protesters stand on a loudspeaker truck in Bangkok, Dec. 3, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)

He said the prime minister has to stop performing her duties and resign because a lot of people came out in protest to call for that.

Yingluck Shinawatra

  •  Born June 21, 1967 in Chiang Mai
  • Younger sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra
  • Earned a Master's degree in Public Administration from Kentucky State University
  • Married to businessman Anusorn Amornchat; has one son
  • Served as managing director of AIS and SC Asset, both family companies
  • Became Thailand's first female prime minister in 2011
Yingluck swept to power in the 2011 elections with a strong majority. But some of her government's policies have aroused public ire, in particular a controversial amnesty bill that could have paved the way for the return of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, has been living in self-imposed exile to avoid facing corruption charges. He is believed to play a key role in setting government policy and remains popular in rural areas.
 
The weeks of protests in the capital are the largest in Thailand since 2010, but many Thais and political observers saw the demonstrators' demands to replace the democratically-elected government with a “people's council” as unreasonable.
 
Following the protests, the prime minister's fate remains unclear. With much of Thailand anticipating Thursday's birthday celebrations for the King, who is considered the sole uniting figure in the country, the prime minister made a brief televised appeal for all people to come together and work for a solution.
 
Whatever the eventual political outcome, the turmoil seems certain to affect Thailand's economy. The finance ministry says the country’s growth rate may dip to three percent and its credit rating is also likely to fall.

Related video report by Steve Herman
Thailand Political Deadlock Continues As Protests Turn Violenti
X
December 02, 2013 9:06 PM
Thailand's prime minister says she is open to negotiations to defuse the country's political crisis, but remains unwilling to bow to her opponent's demands to turn over the government to an unelected council. VOA's Steve Herman reports from Bangkok, where Yingluck Shinawatra said the country's influential military will remain neutral in the standoff.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More