News / Asia

Thais Fear Renewed Conflict as Government Plans Reconciliation

Thailand is recovering from its worst political violence in decades, after soldiers forced an end to a two-month anti-government protest Bangkok. But there are concerns of renewed unrest as the government plans reconciliation efforts to heal the divisions.

Most traces of the burned tires and street barricades are gone from Bangkok, days after soldiers cleared out the protest camp.

But the political and social wounds are not healed.

Malai, a cook in the Bon Khai neighborhood that saw much of the fighting, says the country is too divided and she worries that the unrest is not over.  She is worried that, if street violence breaks out again, their restaurant could be damaged and she would have no way to earn a living.



Protesters set fire to more than 30 buildings, after soldiers moved to end their occupation of a commercial district.

The government accuses protest leaders of terrorism and plans to arrest of several hundred protesters, some of whom it says are armed.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says the government will call elections, which was the protesters' key demand after security is fully restored.

"On the contrary, if we have election[s] today nobody can guarantee a peace, stable, election or even a stable government after that," said Panitan.  "We need to sit down and work out the common structure, common rules, a mechanism that prevent[s] the conflict after election[s]."

The government says there will be an independent investigation of clashes since March, which left about 90 people dead and 2,000 others wounded - most of them civilians.

But political analysts say the protesters have little trust in Bangkok politicians.

Chantana Banpasirichote, a professor of political science at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, says stability depends on the government showing the protesters, known as the red shirts, that they will have justice and a voice in politics.

"So, I think if the government mishandle[s] this again, instead of accommodating the red shirt[s] into, back into the normal political procedure, allow them a lot of flexibilities and access to media and political resources, then I think it [stability] would [be] going down," said Chantana.

The protesters say the military and Bangkok elite conspired to remove their elected leaders from power.

They point to the 2006 coup against their patron, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and court rulings and deal making that brought the current government to power.

Chantana say the political system needs reform that forces long-term cooperation among political parties, rather than quick fixes.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid