News / Asia

Thousands Rally Against Thai Government

Thai policemen try to arrest anti-government protesters during their clash in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.
Thai policemen try to arrest anti-government protesters during their clash in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.
Ron Corben
— Opponents of Thailand's government held a one day rally Saturday, accusing the government of corruption and mal-administration. The government fears the protests are a prelude for violence. Minor clashes occurred when police used tear gas before making arrests with seveal police officers and protestors were reported injured.

Thousands of demonstrators faced tight security Saturday as they took to the streets in protest of the government of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.  Hundreds of police and provincial security authorities cordoned off streets near the protest.  Authorities said more than 100 people were arrested.

The anti-government Pitak Siam or "Protect Thailand" group, led by a retired army general, had hoped to muster up to 100,000 people at the rally in central Bangkok. But police said fewer than 30,000 showed up.

The government activated its emergency powers through the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the increased police presence appeared to have lowered turnout, with police road-blocks outside the city slowing arrivals to the protest site.

Late in the day protest leader General Boonlert Kaewprasit called off the rally saying police had sought to lure the protests into violence.  The rally was also dampened by a late heavy downpour of rain.

Earlier, police had fired tear gas against demonstrators who attempted to break through police lines.

Pian Pinphut , a rally coordinator, said several people needed treatment at nearby hospitals for tear gas inhalation.  

“Now the police with all weapons are preventing people from entering or continuing on the street. This morning police used tear gas against the people," said Pinphut. "To threaten ...but after about one hour they stopped using it. Some of my friends some of the media and some of the people got the tear gas and some of them were caught (by police).”  
 
The rally, the second by the Pitak Siam group, was being seen as a test of the level of opposition to the government of Prime Minister Yingluck, elected in July 2011.

Rally protestors Saturday told VOA their concerns were corruption, vote buying and the direction of the economy under the government’s so-called populist policies.

A businessman, who asked not be named, said higher official's wages and corruption were his main concerns.  

“Corruption - It is worse, it is. Before all right you have to accept that before it was between about five and 10 per cent but now the minimum is 30 per cent - minimum 30 per cent (of contracts),” he said.

General Kittisak Rathprasert at Anti-Government Rally Bangkok November 24, 2012 (VOA Photo R. Corben).General Kittisak Rathprasert at Anti-Government Rally Bangkok November 24, 2012 (VOA Photo R. Corben).
x
General Kittisak Rathprasert at Anti-Government Rally Bangkok November 24, 2012 (VOA Photo R. Corben).
General Kittisak Rathprasert at Anti-Government Rally Bangkok November 24, 2012 (VOA Photo R. Corben).
An army general, Kittisak Rathprasert, said people had come to the rally because of political corruption and vote buying at elections.

“In Thailand here for the money to make the power; when you have the power to make money always like that - Now I want to stop corruption, stop the absolute power, that’s why all the people come here because now the people absolutely we have a very, very bad government,” said Rathprasert.

The latest rallies come ahead of a no-confidence debate in parliament this coming week where the opposition parties are set to target the government over corruption, especially in the agricultural sector.

The anti-government rally was the largest since bloody protests in 2010 against the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva and in support of Prime Minister Yingluck’s older brother, former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, that left over 90 people dead and hundreds injured.

Thaksin, facing a jail term for corruption, is still a major influence in Thai politics.   He remains overseas but is reported to be pressing the government to pass amnesty and constitutional reform laws to enable his return to Thailand.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid