News / Asia

In Thailand's North, Tensions High Ahead of Elections

In Thailand's North, Tensions High Ahead of Electionsi
X
January 31, 2014
Supporters of Thailand’s ruling party are eager to vote Sunday, to demonstrate how popular the prime minister remains, despite the protests in Bangkok. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, where supporters say if the courts or military intervene to depose the government, they are prepared to fight back.
TEXT SIZE - +
— Supporters of Thailand’s ruling party are eager to vote Sunday, to demonstrate how popular the prime minister remains despite the protests in Bangkok. In the major northern city of Chiang Mai, supporters say if the courts or military intervene to depose the government, they are prepared to fight back.
 
In Chiang Mai, a spike in tourist arrivals is a sure sign of foreigners seeking safer destinations in Thailand amid worries of trouble in Bangkok from anti-government protesters.
 
But the region's laid back image as a tranquil retreat could change, according to supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's party known as the Red Shirts.
 
Former police sergeant turned Chiang Mai Red Shirt leader Pichet Tanwon claims that a half-million armed supporters are prepared to go to battle to protect the prime minister if the military attempts a coup. They say they will defend her and her party from their northern stronghold.
 
“The Red Shirt people will fight," he said. "We will not let the coup happen to destroy our society and our country, and we have many strategies to fight, but now we cannot make public our plans how we are going to battle.”
 
Despite a failed rice-buying scheme that's left thousands of farmers without payment and the country deep in debt, support for the Pheu Thai remains strong in much of northern Thailand.
 
Just a few kilometers from Yingluck's Chiang Mai hometown, a gathering of politicians and Red Shirt supporters holds a candlelight demonstration at a district police station.
 
First time candidate Anog Jaichauy, whose Co-operative Power Party is one of many grass-roots contenders allied with the ruling party, said the Bangkok protesters who oppose the vote are being manipulated.
 
“The situation in Bangkok is chaos right now because the protest group is actually being used by the elitist to cause the problems in our country and against the democratic system," she said. "They abuse our right to vote.”
 
After months of protests accusing the government of corruption and its supporters of ignorance, passions are running high. As the peaceful evening ceremony winds up, tempers flare.
 
“I want Thailand to have the elections on February 2. I don't want Thailand to get confused. We should hold the election for democracy. Democracy comes from the people's votes,” said Sawat Yodkham, a farmer and Red Shirt supporter.
 
Thailand's elections Sunday are aimed at resolving the country's political deadlock, but the passions on display here indicate the divide will continue, despite the vote.

You May Like

Multimedia Parents of Disaster Ferry Passengers Lash Out at Authorities

Twenty-nine bodies recovered from water but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wang from: China
January 31, 2014 9:46 PM
Current opposition group is angry with upcoming election. Election is the best way to solute any problem because that way is democratic way. Why opposition against election? Do they disagrees democracy?


by: Paul from: Surin,Thailand
January 31, 2014 7:24 PM
The rice pledging scheme,is a total failure.My Wife's father has not been paid for 4 months,Has no money left.He is owed apoultry 45000 Baht or around $1500usd for his once a year crop. He still has to pay for fertilizer and seedlings from that money.
Thailand is close to civil war.....!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid