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

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora