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

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid