News / Asia

In Thailand's North, Tensions High Ahead of Elections

In Thailand's North, Tensions High Ahead of Electionsi
X
January 31, 2014 8:22 PM
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.
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 Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid