News / Asia

Thailand Weary, Divided After Military Crackdown On Red Shirt Protesters

TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden

Bangkok is now recovering from 10 weeks of anti-government demonstrations that shut down much of the city. The Thai army removed the protesters by force Wednesday, in a military operation that left at least seven people dead and 88 wounded. While the government arrested most of the protest leaders, the divisions in Thai society that help create the protest movement remain.

An estimated 5,000 protesters, known as the "Red Shirts," occupied a three square kilometer area of Bangkok's business district for two months. Their leaders said they were a non-violent democracy movement representing poor and rural people.

But Naruemon Chabchumpon, Political Science Director at Chulalongkorn University, says the Red Shirts organization damaged its public image by its actions. For example, the leaders escalated their original demands for new elections to include arresting some Thai government officials, she said.

"Their demand is asking for early election and then the government proposed like a November election and they accept in the beginning, and at the end they are changing their demand every day," said Chabchumpon. "At that time I think the public in Bangkok feel that, start to wonder, what is their real demand."

When the military finally moved in to disperse the protesters they encountered armed resistance. Protesters shot at advancing soldiers and set buildings ablaze. The violence and destruction further alienated many in the city. Now, the camp is being dismantled and the area swept clean.

But Thai society remains divided. 

Chabchumpon says to prevent unrest from reoccurring, the government needs to hold new elections and direct more economic assistance to the rural areas.

"In terms of the economic policy I think Thailand might have to start thinking about welfare state, to put more welfare to the rural areas because right now the rural people might feel that most of the budget go so much for urbanization," Chabchumpon said.

She adds, without political reconciliation, life in Thailand will never really return to normal.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange 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.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

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