News / Asia

Thai Army Warns Protesters to Disperse

In a blunt warning to anti-government protesters in central Bangkok, the Thai army says time is running out for demonstrators occupying a key intersection to leave, before military forces move in. The rising tensions in Bangkok has already led to brief clashes between anti-government protesters and local residents.

Reports say up to 10,000 troops have been deployed in central Bangkok ahead of fresh clampdown against thousands of anti-government demonstrators, known as red shirts.

The protesters, led by the United Democratic Front against Dictatorship are camped in the Rajaprasong retail and tourist district, leading to the closure of scores of businesses at the cost of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

But UDD leaders remain defiant.  Protesters have built barricades and have stockpiled sharpened bamboo sticks and broken paving stones.  The military says it will use tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, if necessary.

Weng Tojirakan, a key UDD leader, says a final decision when the military action will begin rests with the Army Chief General Anupong Paochinda.

"The soldiers still stand there - 10,000 people well armed.  So they're preparing to kill us every minute. It depends on Anupong decision, himself, whether to kill people or to stop the killing. [But] it's very difficult for the government to kill us.  If they kill another time something maybe changed," said Weng Tojirakan.

On April 10, at least 24 people on both sides died in clashes between the military and the protesters.  More than 850 others were injured.   

The protests began five weeks ago and support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.  He has the backing of rural and urban poor and working class, who had benefited from his populist policies while in power.  He was ousted in a coup in 2006.

Protesters say the government of Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva is illegitimate, because it came to power through court rulings that removed pro-Thaksin prime ministers.

But a member of the governing Democrat Party, Kraisak Choonhavan, says the red shirt movement is using protesters in a bid to overthrow the government.

"One cannot interpret this situation in any other way but is a direct provocation using the people as pawns, if you like the old saying of 'cannon fodder,' in order to overthrow the government.  And, this is really unfortunate.  We've never faced such a situation before," said Kraisak.

Related video report by Daniel Schearf: Thai Demonstrators Vent Anger at Anti-Government Protesters

Kraisak says the government is losing patience dismissing red shirt claims it is facing a class war.

Growing frustrations by local business and residents in Bangkok have led to brief clashes with red shirts near barricades in central Bangkok.

The United States has urged both sides to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis, saying violence is not a solution to the current political challenge.

Thailand faces its most severe political crisis in almost 20 years. Negotiations last month ended in failure ,after a government offer for elections in nine months was dismissed by UDD leaders who call for immediate polls.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs