News / Asia

Thailand's Junta Targets Outspoken Academics and Activists

  • A protester displays how his rights were violated during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
  • A Thai riot police officer (center), is carried by colleagues after he was knocked down by an object thrown by protesters during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
  • Protesters scuffle with Thai soldiers during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
  • About 200 people confronted troops and police during a rally at Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 28, 2014.
  • Anti-coup protesters push police during a rally at the Victory Monument, in Bangkok, May 27, 2014.
  • Military police stand guard during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 27, 2014.
  • A demonstrator holds up a sign during a protest against military rule at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 27, 2014.
  • Thai soldiers secure a road near the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
  • An anti-coup protester holds a banner in front of soldiers during a demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
  • Anti-coup protestors jeer at riot police during a rally against military rule at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
  • Police officers and soldiers stand guard during a protest against military rule at Victory Monument in central Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
  • General Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup, Bangkok, May 26, 2014.
Images from Thailand
Gabrielle Paluch
Thailand's junta has summoned and detained activists and academics in the week it assumed power in a coup. The military says it is carrying out a reform agenda aimed at solving the country's more than six month long political impasse.  

Since Thailand's new military junta, the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council, seized power, anti-coup protesters have been gathering by the hundreds in Bangkok, at impromptu events organized by text message and social networking apps.

Troops have been sent to confront protesters and clear the streets, and on occasion have arrested demonstrators for defying the ban on such rallies. The junta also has summoned members of the ousted government, activists and academics, detaining many of them indefinitely at an undisclosed location.

Most have obeyed the orders and reported to military offices. But a few, such as pro-government "Red-Shirt" activist Sombat Boonngamanong, rejected the instructions.

Instead, Sombat said authorities could find him at a Bangkok McDonald's, where a flash mob of protesters wearing masks bearing the image of his face had gathered. Chatuporn was one member of the masked mob who said the group's tactics come after many of their political leaders have been rounded up.  

"Because Sombat make a game for everyone if you want to catch him just go ahead catch him everywhere," said Chatuporn. "We are everywhere even flash mob or something like that. That's why they want to catch all the leaders they got our prime minister and put them somewhere we don't know but Sombat he is the one who got away."

In addition to Sombat, the military has summoned and detained journalists and academics, as well as political leaders opposing the coup.

Coup leader and army chief general Prayuth Chan-ocha says he hopes military rule will bring an end to Thailand's protracted political crisis, which saw the democratically elected government and the opposition unable to reach a compromise, and resulted in months of demonstrations that paralyzed the capital.

Deputy army spokesperson Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak says the army will relinquish administrative control over the country once it has solved its problems.

"Security and peace and order. Peace and order, people in the country become harmony and it has to be sustainable peace and order not just temporarily and after that we will proceed further with talking about election," said Weerachon. "But for the time being we have to fix all the problems of this country particularly with the fundamental problems."

The spokesperson promised detained political leaders would be released once order had returned to the streets, but did not specify what would happen to other detainees.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is political analyst and former diplomat among those summoned by the junta. But he says he did not respond because he does not recognize the legitimacy of the coup. He says the summons are a breach against academic freedom and an attempt at intimidation.

"This is the 19th military coup, the fact that they started [to] harass academics this is something quite new the first thing to do is for them to try to control what kind of message that many people would be sending across," he said. "I think academic could pose as a potential threat to the power position of the coup-makers."

He believes the process of summoning outspoken people with the looming threat of future prosecution under martial law or the lese majeste law undermines the legitimacy of the coup. Pavin says it will only encourage critics of the military regime.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid