News / Asia

    Thai Protests Pause Ahead of King's Birthday

    Anti-government protesters sweep streets in front of the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013.
    Anti-government protesters sweep streets in front of the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013.
    VOA News
    The Thai capital was calm on Wednesday after a week and a half of raucous and occasionally violent protests, as opposition protesters observed a truce ahead of the birthday celebrations of the country's revered king.

    Many of those who have spent days trying to overthrow the government were back on the Bangkok streets, but this time to help clean up ahead of the festivities.

    Boonyanut Dwaunglahon was one of those sweeping the streets at the Democracy Monument, where tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have camped out.

    "This group, the whistle-blowing group, we're here together today to sweep and clean up to show the king that we love him," explained Boonyanut.

    King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 86 on Thursday, and is widely respected in Thailand.

    Opposition leaders vow to resume the protests on Friday, saying they will not rest until Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resigns and turns over control to an unelected council.

    Fears of widespread violence were raised over the last several days, when at least four people were killed and scores wounded in the protests.

    However, tensions eased on Tuesday after police backed down, saying they had been ordered to avoid confrontation with the protesters, whose strategy is to occupy government buildings.

    Hundreds of demonstrators still remain at the Finance Ministry and some other government facilities, but the government continues to operate as usual.

    • Anti-government protesters throw rocks after riot police fired tear gas at them near the Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 2, 2013.
    • A military medical unit team assists an injured protester after riot police threw a tear gas canister during clashes in Bangkok, Dec. 2, 2013.
    • Anti-government protesters use fans to blow away tear gas as riot police use a water cannon during clashes in Bangkok, Dec. 2, 2013.
    • A Buddhist monk helps an anti-government protester clean his eyes with salt water solution after riot police fired tear gas in Bangkok, Dec. 2, 2013.
    • An anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister towards police from behind a barricade during clashes near the Government House in Bangkok, Dec. 1, 2013.
    • A crowd listens to an anti-government speech at and above a major Bangkok intersection, Thailand, Dec. 1, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
    • Police stand behind razor wire at their headquarters in Bangkok, Dec. 1, 2013. (Steve Herman/VOA)
    • An anti-government protester gets ready to throw back a tear gas canister fired by riot police in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec. 1, 2013.

    The conflict pits Bangkok's urban middle class and royalist elite against the mostly poor, rural supporters of Yingluck and her billionaire brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister ousted in a 2006 military coup.

    The latest demonstrations were triggered several weeks ago by an amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return home and avoid a two-year jail term for corruption. The Senate rejected the bill but protests have continued.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora