What lies ahead for Thailand after dramatic opposition election win?
Thailand’s opposition has racked up a stunning majority of the 500 seats at stake in the race for the House of Representatives,, dealing a major blow to the establishment parties and a former general who led the Southeast Asian country since seizing power in a 2014 coup.
Thai police fire tear gas at protest over COVID response
Thai riot police have fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to repel a crowd of several hundred young anti-government protestors who marched on an army base where Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has his residence to demand his resignation.
Thai media restrictions raise freedom of expression concerns
Thailand implemented have new regulations that appear to broaden the government’s ability to restrict media reports and social media posts about the coronavirus pandemic, raising immediate concerns that authorities will seek to stifle criticism.
Thailand to join COVAX, acknowledging low vaccine supply
The head of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute has apologized for the country’s slow and inadequate rollout of coronavirus vaccines, promising it will join the U.N.-backed COVAX program to receive supplies from its pool of donated vaccines next year.
Myanmar junta deepens violence with new air attacks in east
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)MAE SAM LAEP – The military launched more airstrikes Tuesday in eastern Myanmar after earlier attacks forced thousands of ethnic Karen to flee into Thailand and further escalating violence two months after the junta seized power. The U.S. earlier suspended a trade deal and imposed sanctions on junta leaders as well as restricted business with military holding companies. Tuesday's air raids in eastern Myanmar killed six civilians and wounded 11, said Saw Taw Nee, head of the KNU's foreign affairs department. AdProtests against the junta continued in several Myanmar cities Tuesday despite its lethal crackdown that killed more than 100 people on Saturday alone. They said on Monday, however, that Thai soldiers had begun to force people to return to Myanmar.
Thai police use tear gas, rubber bullets to break up protest
Police behind the containers responded first with warnings and then by shooting water cannons and rubber bullets. AdThe city's emergency medical service Erawan reported 33 people, including 13 police, were injured by rubber bullets, rocks and tear gas. At least two reporters were hit by rubber bullets. He said in addition to throwing various objects, protesters used slingshots to fire nuts and bolts at police and hit them with metal rods. He said police had used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets according to proper procedures.
EU regulator 'convinced' AstraZeneca benefit outweighs risk
Pharmacist Rajan Shah prepares a syringe of the AstraZeneca vaccine at St John's Church, in Ealing, London, Tuesday, March 16, 2021. “We are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 with its associated risk of hospitalization and death outweigh the risk of the side effects,” said Emer Cooke, the head of the agency. AdThe AstraZeneca shot has already struggled to gain public trust after troubles with reporting of its data and concerns about its effectiveness in older people. In addition to the EMA, AstraZeneca and the WHO have said there is no evidence the vaccine carries an increased risk of blood clots. AdStill, the torrent of decisions casting doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine despite assurances of experts is testing public opinion.
Thai PM gets AstraZeneca jab, 1 Asian country suspends
“There are people who have concerns," Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said after he received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. AdThailand last week was the first country outside Europe to temporarily suspend using the AstraZeneca vaccine. The country has so far received 525,00 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the World Health Organization’s COVAX arrangement and has administered 12,788 doses so far. Australia has vaccinated about 200,000 people so far and plans to import and manufacture 70 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca. By March 4, India had exported over 48.1 million doses of vaccine, including 11.9 million doses to COVAX and 28.8 million doses as commercial exports, according to government data.
EXPLAINER: Why countries are halting the AstraZeneca shot
A medical staff dispays AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site set up in the Marseille soccer Velodrome stadium, during a presentation to the media, in Marseille, Monday, March 15, 2021. On Saturday, Norwegian authorities reported that four people under age 50 who had gotten the AstraZeneca vaccine had an unusually low number of blood platelets. Ireland and the Netherlands then announced that they too, were stopping their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. It said while its review was ongoing, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweighed the potential side effects. “People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”___Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed to this report.
The Latest: US health officials warn of false positives
WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are warning health professionals about the risk of false positive results with a widely used laboratory test for COVID-19 and flu. The Iowa Department of Public Health said Friday that Iowa has administered 1.03 million doses. The state health department sent a notice Thursday to the hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other community providers of the coronavirus vaccine detailing the state’s expectations. AdBrazil has already secured contracts for 200 million vaccine doses, half made by AstraZeneca and half by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac. It could use those mechanisms as well to expand eligibility___PRAGUE — The health authorities in the Czech Republic have administered over 1 million coronavirus vaccine shots.
Thai PM ends presser by spraying reporters with disinfectant
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sprays alcohol mist on a front row of reporters sitting inside the press conference room at Government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 9 , 2021. Riled by a final question about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, the prime minister told reporters to mind their own business, then grabbed a container of alcohol mist and doused the front row before sauntering off. On Tuesday, Thailand’s prime minister sanitized members of the press. After fielding a slew of questions from journalists at his weekly news conference in Bangkok, the famously mercurial Prayuth Chan-ocha sprayed back — with disinfectant. Riled by a final question about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, he told reporters to mind their own business, then grabbed a container of alcohol mist and doused the front row before sauntering off.
Thailand probes Facebook's removal of army-linked accounts
FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2020, file photo, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a signing ceremony at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand. Facebook says the network of accounts originated in Thailand and targeted domestic audiences in its southern provinces, where the army faces a longstanding insurgency movement. The issue of army information operations has surfaced during parliamentary debates. In October 2020, Twitter disclosed it had uncovered a network of 926 accounts allegedly involved in information operations linked to the army. It said the accounts were engaging in amplifying pro-Royal Thai Army and pro-government content and also targeting prominent political opposition figures.
Thai marchers link their democracy cause to Myanmar protests
The group joined the march after Prayuth met with the Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Bangkok earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Fu Ting)BANGKOK – A new faction of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement staged a protest march Sunday, linking their cause with that of demonstrators in Myanmar battling that neighboring country’s coup-installed military government. Marchers sought but failed to go to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s house, which is on an army base in Bangkok. Thai pro-democracy demonstrations have recently become marred by increasing violence. ___This story has been corrected to show the name of the new protest group is Restart Democracy.
The Latest: First US J&J vaccine doses shipping Sunday night
FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The White House said the entire stockpile of the newly approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will go out immediately. AdJ&J plans to ship several million vaccine doses to states in the coming week, delivering a total of 20 million shots by the end of March. They are part of the government’s plan that has so far secured 2 million doses from Sinovac and 61 million doses from AstraZeneca. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two.
'Don't worry, come forward': Asian nations get 1st shots
(Malaysia Health Ministry via AP)Many nations in the Asia-Pacific region are rolling out the first shots for COVID-19 this week. AUSTRALIATwo elderly people have been administered with higher-than-prescribed doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Australia’s health minister said Wednesday. Thai officials have said they had secured an additional deal with AstraZeneca for a total of 61 million doses. More than half a million health care and front-line workers will be given priority in the first phase. CHINAChinese regulators are looking at two more potential COVID-19 vaccines, one from state-owned company Sinopharm and another from a private company, CanSino.
Indonesia presses regional effort to resolve Myanmar crisis
An anti-coup protester shouts slowgans after riot policemen blocked their march in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The meeting was part of her efforts to coordinate a regional response to the crisis triggered by Myanmar's Feb. 1 military coup. In a virtual news conference after her return to Indonesia, Marsudi said she expressed her country’s concern about the situation in Myanmar. Indonesia's efforts to work with other members of ASEAN to resolve Myanmar's crisis had earlier been stumbling. “This postponement ... did not dampen the intention to establish communication with all parties in Myanmar, once again, with all parties in Myanmar, including with the Myanmar military and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw."
Thailand's prime minister survives no-confidence vote
Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha smiles in parliament after a no-confidence vote against him was defeated in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thailand’s prime minister survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday amid allegations that his government mismanaged the economy, bungled the provision of COVID-19 vaccines, abused human rights and fostered corruption. It marked the second no-confidence test that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government has faced since taking office in July 2019, following a contested election after Prayuth seized power in a 2014 coup as the army chief. In February last year, he and five Cabinet ministers easily defeated a no-confidence vote in the lower house. This is an evil action, making him no longer qualified to be prime minister,” he said.
Thai leader threatens punishment for false vaccine news
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned Tuesday that his government will prosecute anyone who shares false information about coronavirus vaccines in social or mass media. Prayuth’s warning was an apparent reaction to charges that his government has done too little to acquire adequate supplies of vaccines. Supakit Sirilak, director general of the Medical Science Department, said the Health Ministry has been working to obtain vaccine supplies since last February, but has taken time to evaluate which are appropriate. A first batch of 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine from China is scheduled to arrive next month. Public concern about the vaccine situation shot up last month after Thailand experienced a surge in its relatively modest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Thai court gives record 43-year sentence for insulting king
The court initially announced her sentence as 87 years, but reduced it by half because she pleaded guilty to the offenses, the group said. Violating Thailand's lese majeste law — known widely as Article 112 — is punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment per count. After King Maha Vajralongkorn took the throne in 2016 following his father's death, he informed the government that he did not wish to see the lese majeste law used. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights identified the woman sentenced Tuesday only by her first name Anchan and said she was in her mid-60s. She denied the charges when her case was first heard in military court, where lese majeste offenses were prosecuted for a period after the coup.
The Latest: Tens of thousands on Vegas strip despite warning
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)LAS VEGAS — Tens of thousands of people were walking on the casino-lined Las Vegas Strip on New Year’s Eve by early evening despite a plea from Nevada Gov. China on Friday reported a total of 19 new virus cases, including 10 that were brought from outside the country. ___LONDON — The coronavirus pandemic canceled London’s annual New Years’ Eve fireworks display, which usually draws tens of thousands of spectators. The nation’s most populated county has about 40% of California’s virus deaths. ___NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee ends the year ranked first in coronavirus cases per capita.
Thailand imposes new restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak
Thailand generally has been viewed as successful in combating the coronavirus, due partly to its well-regarded public health infrastructure and people’s adherence to mask-wearing and other protocols. But cases have jumped significantly since an outbreak was detected last week among migrants from Myanmar working at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon province. Samut Sakhon Gov. Weerasak Wijitsaengsri tested positive for the virus after meeting Sunday with senior health officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Samut Sakhon was put under lockdown on Dec. 19, followed by Samut Songkhram and Samut Prakarn.
Thailand confident coronavirus outbreak is controllable
FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2020, file photo, a guard with a face-shield stands near a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon, south of Bangkok. Thailand, which has kept the coronavirus largely in check for most of the year, is facing a challenge from a large outbreak of the virus among migrant workers in the province close to Bangkok. (AP Photo/ Jerry Harmer, File)BANGKOK – Thailand’s government is confident it can contain a major coronavirus resurgence without a national lockdown, instead relying on provincial controls as the outbreak mainly among migrant seafood workers continued to spread. Cases traced to the Samut Sakhon market have been found in 27 provinces, the government said. New cases among migrant workers were not reported on Wednesday and Thursday, with the explanation that they were being rechecked.
After months of calm, Thailand grapples with virus outbreak
The surge of cases in Samut Sakhon province threatens to undo months of efforts to contain the virus and hasten recovery of Thailand's ailing economy. Virtually all were migrant workers in Samut Sakhon or otherwise linked to a big seafood market in the province. There are an estimated 4 million to 5 million foreign workers in Thailand, according to the U.N.-affiliated International Organization for Migration. Yet a segment of popular opinion blames migrant workers who allegedly sneaked into Thailand for the new outbreak. Activists for migrant workers frame the situation differently, and point out that two other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore and Malaysia, have also had large outbreaks among migrant workers.
Thai actress aiding protests charged with insulting monarchy
Several leaders of protest movement report to the police station to answer the charges of defaming the Thai monarchy, the most serious of many offenses of which they stand accused during recent pro-democracy rallies. Its use against Inthira appeared to be unprecedented since she was not directly tied to any comments about the monarchy. She has helped provide food, protective gear and other equipment for the protest rallies over several months that have attracted thousands of people. In recent weeks, protest leaders have put the focus on the monarchy, which is the most sensitive issue. Many Thais treat the monarchy with reverence, considering it an untouchable institution that is the heart and soul of the nation.
Thai prime minister acquitted of ethics breach, retains post
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha leaves after a press conference at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. He then headed the junta that ruled for five years and was also prime minister in the military-guided government. Prayuth’s defense has been that the official residence of the prime minister is undergoing renovation, and also that he faces security concerns. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda were given the same privilege, former army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong declared before his retirement this past September. In the past 12 years, court rulings have ousted three Thai prime ministers.
Thai leader faces court ruling that could cost him his job
In this photo released by Government Spokesman Office, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha receives flowers from well wishers in Samut Songkhram province, Thailand, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. He then headed the junta that ruled for five years, and was also prime minister in the military-guided government. Prayuth’s defense has been that the official residence of the prime minister is undergoing renovation, and also that he faces security concerns. His Cabinet will then act as a caretaker government until Parliament can choose a new prime minister and Cabinet. In the past 12 years, court rulings have ousted three Thai prime ministers, but Prayuth is widely believed to be likely to get a favorable ruling.
Thai pro-democracy protesters rally outside army base
Around 800 protesters marched to the base of the 11th Infantry Regiment, which is closely associated with the country’s royal palace. The protesters believe that the army undermines democracy in Thailand, and that King Maha Vajiralongkorn wields too much power and influence in what is supposed to be a democratic constitutional monarchy. Protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak urged the crowd to rally outside the court on the day of the verdict. Last year, the 11th Infantry Regiment was shifted from the army’s chain of command and made part of the Royal Security Command, answerable directly to the king. Because it is based in Bangkok, the 11th Infantry Regiment has been a key player in coups, or opposing them, according to the prevailing political climate.
Thailand's pro-democracy protesters warn of possible coup
Protesters flash LED lights from their mobile phones during a rally Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)BANGKOK – Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand, undeterred by arrest warrants and the possibility of violent attacks, held another rally on Friday, poking fun at their critics and warning of the possibility of a military coup. The potential for violence was illustrated after their last rally on Wednesday, when two men were reportedly shot and critically wounded. Although any criticism of the monarchy used to be taboo, speeches at the rallies — as well as signs and chants __ include caustic words about the king and the palace. That event was the trigger for a coup, and since then Thailand has had successful coups in 1977, 1991, 2006 and 2014.
Thailand, Philippines sign for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Thailand on Friday signed a deal to procure 26 million doses of the trial coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. (Chalinee Thirasupa/Pool Photo via AP)BANGKOK – Thailand on Friday signed a $200 million deal to procure 26 million doses of a trial coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute signed a non-refundable advance market commitment contract worth 2.38 billion baht ($79 million) with AstraZeneca to reserve the supply of the vaccine candidate. In the Philippines, more than 30 companies on Friday signed an agreement to purchase at least 2.6 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca in the country's first such deal to secure coronavirus vaccines. The Philippines has recorded 425,918 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 8,255 deaths.
Thai protesters push on despite charges of royal defamation
On Tuesday, police had issued summonses for 12 protest leaders to answer charges of lese majeste, defaming or insulting key members of the royal family. Most of the protest leaders are already facing multiple charges, ranging from blocking traffic to sedition. Many in the months-long protest movement, spearheaded by students, believe the monarchy holds too much power for a constitutional monarchy. The ducks became a symbol of resistance last week when human-size inflatable ducks were brought to a rally outside Parliament and satirically dubbed the protesters’ navy. A protest rally outside Parliament last week turned chaotic, as police fired water cannons and tear gas at the protesters.
Thousands protest violence-marred rally at Thai Parliament
Pro-democracy protesters splash colored paint on the police headquarters sign in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. Police in Thailand's capital braced for possible trouble Wednesday, a day after a protest outside Parliament by pro-democracy demonstrators was marred by violence that left dozens of people injured. Tuesday's confrontations outside Parliament were the worst violence during months of actions by the student-led protest movement, which has staged increasingly determined rallies of thousands of people around the country. Protest leaders made clear before Parliament met that they would not be satisfied unless the motion submitted by iLaw passed. Some of the injuries occurred during a brawl between the pro-democracy protesters and stone-throwing royalists who oppose constitutional change.
Thai protesters, police clash as MPs mull charter change
Riot police stand in formation as pro-democracy protesters throw smoke bombs near the Parliament in Bangkok, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Some of the injuries occurred during a brawl between the pro-democracy protesters and stone-throwing royalists who oppose constitutional change. The protest movement has been staging increasingly determined mass rallies of thousands of people around the country. Constitutional changes require a joint vote of both bodies. Thailand has had 20 constitutions since abolishing the absolute monarchy in 1932 in favor of a constitutional monarchy.
Thai protesters rally again, promoting a diversity of causes
BANGKOK – Pro-democracy protesters in Thailand rallied again on Saturday, promoting a diversity of causes and taking an opportunity to display their rejection of the country’s power structure directly to the monarch. Some 20 groups called the rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument under the name “Mob Fest” as the latest in a series of protests calling for significant reforms in government. The protest movement, anticipating that the lawmakers will not take substantive action, has already called what it expects will be its biggest march so far for Nov. 21. A crowd of several thousand protesters at Democracy Monument on Saturday showed their sentiment when a royal motorcade with King Maha Vajiralongkorn passed by. However, the general atmosphere at the rally was festive as a variety of groups promoted their causes with petitions and speeches, and music entertained the crowd.
Thai protesters defy police water cannons to deliver letters
Police use water cannons to disperse pro-democracy protesters during a street march in Bangkok, Thailand Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Pro-democracy protesters in Thailand were confronted by riot police and sprayed by water cannons Sunday as they tried to approach Bangkok's Grand Palace to deliver letters about their political grievances addressed to the country's king. Sunday marked the second time water cannons were used against the protesters during several months of demonstrations. The melee was brief, and police later allowed the protesters to place four red mock mailboxes near the palace walls into which protesters could place their letters. The protesters believe Prayuth lacks legitimacy because he came to power after an election last year whose rules were set up under military rule.
Hungary's foreign minister tests positive for coronavirus
Szijjarto tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Thailand for an official visit, Thai and Hungarian officials said Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. (Pool Photo via AP)BANGKOK – Hungary's minister of foreign affairs and trade tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Thailand for an official visit, Thai and Hungarian officials said Wednesday. The 42-year-old foreign minister will return on one plane and the other members of his party in a separate aircraft, Anutin said. The Hungarian news agency MTI, citing the chief press officer at Hungary’s foreign ministry, confirmed that Szijjarto tested positive for the coronavirus. During his visit, Szijjarto paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hun Sen and held separate meetings with Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and the ministers of commerce and agriculture.
Thai student-protesters aim for ambitious political change
Now 21, he is among those at the front of Thailand's growing pro-democracy movement pushing for sweeping political reforms. Political protest is nothing new in Thailand, and its past 15 years have been defined by it. Among their calls were for greater oversight of royal budgets and an end to the practice of Thai monarchs endorsing military coups. Chonticha is aware history is not on the protesters' side, but she says in some ways they have already succeeded. “Our movement has changed the perception of Thais toward the monarchy and military,” she said.
Thai protesters shun Parliament, ask Germany to probe king
Pro-democracy demonstrators march to the German Embassy in central Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. They believe the king wields an inordinate amount of power in what is nominally a democracy under a constitutional monarchy. It has also led royalists to stage counter-rallies and to denounce the protesters for raising the issue, increasing the risk of confrontation. Speaker of the House Chuan Leekpai cautioned at Monday's special Parliament session that it was not to discuss the role of the monarchy. The protesters consider the government's response insincere, noting the agenda for the non-voting session of Parliament does not include the protesters’ concerns but instead has thinly disguised criticism of the protests themselves.
Thai protesters rally ahead of parliamentary debate
Pro-democracy protesters in Thailand gathered again Sunday in Bangkok, seeking to keep up pressure on the government a day ahead of a special session of Parliament called to try to ease political tensions. The rally was called Saturday night after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ignored the protesters’ deadline to step down. Prayuth’s government last week called the special parliamentary session to seek to defuse weeks of almost daily protests. Protesters’ criticism of the royal institution has irked conservative Thais because the monarchy traditionally has been treated as sacrosanct. On Wednesday, a small royalist rally in Bangkok broke into violence when a few attendees attacked anti-government student activists.
Thai protesters' deadline passes, but PM says he won't quit
After the 10 p.m. deadline passed, protesters called another rally for central Bangkok on Sunday, at a major intersection in the capital's main shopping district where they have gathered before. Prayuth told supporters Saturday evening as he left a Buddhist temple where a prayer session was held for national peace and prosperity that he would not quit. “The government is sincere in solving the problem and committed to following the law in doing so,” he told reporters. The protesters, however, said they would stick to their deadline for Prayuth to meet their demands that he resign and that their arrested comrades be released from jail. In addition to calling for Prayuth's resignation, the protesters’ core demands include a more democratic constitution and reforms to the monarchy.
Thailand cancels emergency decree in bid to calm protests
Thailand's prime minister on Wednesday pleaded with his countrymen to resolve their political differences through Parliament, as student-led protests seeking to bring his government down continued for an eighth straight day. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thailand’s government on Thursday canceled a state of emergency it had declared for Bangkok last week after the embattled prime minister suggested the gesture to cool massive student-led protests seeking democracy reforms. The revocation of the emergency decree was published in the government gazette, and took effect at noon Thursday. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha went on national television on Wednesday night to appeal to pro-democracy protesters to reduce political tensions and promised to lift the emergency measure. Prayuth, in the taped speech, pleaded with his countrymen to resolve their political differences through Parliament.
Thai protesters march in show of strength against government
Pro-democracy activists protest in front of Government House, the prime minister's offices in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Police had pushed the protesters out of the same area just a week earlier. The protesters’ long-term demands also include a more democratic constitution and reforms to the monarchy. Prayuth, in his speech broadcast at about the same time the protesters marched, pleaded with his countrymen to resolve their political differences through Parliament. “While I can listen to and acknowledge the demands of protesters, I cannot run the country based on protester or mob demands,” Prayuth said.
Thai Cabinet approves Parliament session to debate protests
Thailand's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a request to recall Parliament for a special session to deal with the political pressures from ongoing anti-government protests. The Cabinet at its weekly meeting approved the request, which calls for a non-voting session on Oct. 26-27. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a request to recall Parliament for a special session to deal with the political pressures from ongoing anti-government protests. The Cabinet at its weekly meeting approved the request, which calls for a non-voting session on Oct. 26-27. The request for the session came from House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, who said Monday that both government and opposition parties supported it.
Thai authorities seek to censor coverage of student protests
Thai authorities worked Monday to stem a growing tide of protests calling for the prime minister to resign by threatening to censor news coverage, raiding a publishing house and attempting to block the Telegram messaging app used by demonstrators. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)BANGKOK – Thai authorities worked Monday to stem a growing tide of protests calling for the prime minister to resign by threatening to censor news coverage, raiding a publishing house and attempting to block the Telegram messaging app used by demonstrators. Police also searched the office of a publishing house that handles books by Thai and foreign scholars with sometimes controversial perspectives. At least one local cable TV provider, however, has been censoring international news broadcasts during their segments on the Thai protests. Despite the spread of protests outside the capital, Prayuth, the prime minister, told reporters the state of emergency will remain only in Bangkok for now.
Protesters in Thailand carry on despite police warning
Pro-democracy demonstrators hold posters of protest leaders who have been arrested, during an anti-government protest at Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. The demonstrators, who are protesting despite a state of emergency banning them from doing so, received a new warning from police that they are violating the law. On Sunday, rallies were called in at least a dozen provinces, including Chiang Mai, a popular tourist destination in northern Thailand. The rallies in Bangkok again drew large crowds, perhaps as many as 10,000 in all, despite the official warnings and intermittent rain. The larger rally in Bangkok was held at Victory Monument, a popular meeting point that anchors a traffic circle on a main thoroughfare.
Transit shutdowns fail to deter Thai pro-democracy protests
Pro-democracy protesters march during a protest in Udom Suk, suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The authorities in Bangkok shut down mass transit systems and set up roadblocks Saturday as Thailands capital faced a fourth straight day of determined anti-government protests. All stations of Bangkok’s elevated Skytrain transit system were closed Saturday afternoon to try to keep protesters from gathering. Once that was announced, money was pooled by participants so they could take taxis to get around the transit shutdown. It was the first time in three months of sporadic protests that the authorities have employed such forceful tactics against the student-led movement.
Thai police crack down on protesters, PM refuses to resign
Journalists who were hit by the water said it caused a stinging sensation and was dyed blue, to mark protesters for possible later arrest. Police said several protesters and police were injured during the pushing and shoving and seven people were arrested. Conservative royalist Thais accuse the protest movement of seeking to end the monarchy, an allegation its leaders deny. Wednesday's incident with the royal motorcade was stunned many Thais. It normal in Thailand for those waiting for a royal motorcade to sit on the ground or prostrate themselves.
Thailand declares emergency after unprecedented protest
Pro-democracy protesters flash three-fingered salute during a protest as they occupied a main road at the central business district in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Such actions are unprecedented in Thailand, where those waiting for a royal motorcade regularly sit on the ground or prostrate themselves. The protest movement was launched in March by university students, but quickly put on hold as Thailand was gripped by the coronavirus pandemic. Conservative royalist Thais accuse the protest movement of seeking to end the monarchy, an allegation its leaders deny. Nevertheless, analysts say the incident with the royal motorcade may harden positions.
Thai police disperse protesters outside PM's office
Thai policemen take away a pro-democracy protester during a demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Thai police dispersed a group of protesters holding an overnight rally outside the prime minister's office. (AP Photo/Rapeephat Sitichailapa)BANGKOK – Thai police early Thursday dispersed a group of pro-democracy protesters who camped out overnight outside the office of the prime minister to demand his resignation, leading him to implement a “severe” state of emergency in the capital area. An Associated Press journalist saw riot police advance from multiple locations to force out a few hundred protesters who remained outside Government House, the seat of Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. The latest rally started on Wednesday with thousands of protesters marching from Bangkok’s Democracy Monument to Government House.