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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid