News / Asia

Thais Seen Lifting State of Emergency as Business Suffers

FILE- Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Jan. 28, 2014 in Bangkok.
FILE- Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Jan. 28, 2014 in Bangkok.
Reuters
— Thailand is expected to lift a state of emergency in Bangkok, almost two months after it was imposed to quell anti-government protests, because of pressure from businesses and in light of improving security, a top official said on Tuesday.
 
Protesters trying to bring down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and end what they see as the pervasive influence of her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have been on the streets for four months.
 
The instability is unnerving consumers, with confidence at a 12-year low, and automakers, property firms and hotels in Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy are feeling the pinch.
 
Twenty-three people have been killed, most in shootings and grenade blasts, since late November and the bloodshed is scaring tourists away from Bangkok.
 
National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said there was a “very high chance” the emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas would be lifted soon.
 
“Business organizations have asked that it be lifted and the overall situation is easing,” Paradorn told reporters.
 
The protests are the latest turmoil to rattle a country broadly divided between urban, middle-class supporters of the royalist establishment and the rural supporters of former telecoms tycoon Thaksin, mostly in the north and northeast.
 
Thaksin's supporters say he was the first Thai political leader to keep campaign promises to help the poor.
 
His critics, who say he is the real power behind his sister's government, say he used his wealth and taxpayers' money on wasteful populist policies that have allowed him to commandeer a fragile democracy.
 
In their bid to bring Yingluck down, the demonstrators tried to occupy ministries and other state offices and later blocked major Bangkok intersections. Early this month, with numbers dwindling, they withdrew to a city park.
 
Blasts
 
Despite the easing tension, the violence has not ended.
 
Three people were injured on Tuesday when an explosive device was thrown into Lumpini Park, where the protesters have set up camp. On Monday, a grenade was thrown near another protest. No one was hurt.
 
With the army not intervening to oust Yingluck, as it did in 2006 with a coup against Thaksin, the protesters are hoping the courts, widely seen as supportive of the anti-Thaksin establishment, will eventually bring her down.
 
Yingluck faces various legal challenges, with one of the potentially most serious being a charge of dereliction of duty brought against her by the anti-corruption agency over a rice-subsidy scheme that has left hundreds of thousands of farmers unpaid.
 
A Bangkok civil court limited the government's powers on Feb. 19, prohibiting force to crack down on protesters and stopping authorities from banning gatherings.
 
Paradorn said that the ruling had removed a reason for maintaining the emergency as it limited what the government could do under it anyway.
 
A Feb. 2 election, disrupted by protesters and boycotted by the main opposition party, failed to resolve the impasse and left Yingluck, whose party is likely win the vote, head of a caretaker government with limited spending power.
 
The government needs voting to be completed in the 18 percent of constituencies where it was disrupted in order to  muster enough legislators to convene parliament.
 
Some re-runs were held this month and the Election Commission said on Tuesday it would hold re-runs in 11 other provinces on April 5 and 27.
 
Separately, the government is waiting for a Constitutional Court ruling on what to do in 28 districts where candidates were unable to register for the vote.
 
Speaking to reporters, Yingluck said the sooner voting was completed the faster the country could move on.
 
“I want every side to wait for the Constitutional Court ruling. If it comes quickly we can move toward elections quickly,” said Yingluck. “We have wasted enough time and opportunities.”

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid