Posts Tagged ‘military’

Thai anti-government protesters demanding general elections by November were blocked by police on the fourth anniversary of the military coup in the country.

Some 3,000 police officers were deployed to prevent some 200 protesters, camping at Thammasat University in the capital, Bangkok, from marching to the Government House. The Government House and surrounding streets were declared a no-go zone.

On May 22, 2014, a bloodless military coup toppled Thailand’s elected government.

The military government vowed reform and reconciliation for a politically divided Thailand but its rule has been tarnished by corruption scandals and repeated postponement of promised elections.

Ban on political activities

Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay, reporting from Bangkok, said the police warned the protesters that they can be arrested and convicted of violating the military government’s ban on political activities, which says crowd of five people or more are outlawed.

“Initially the protesters camped out overnight in Thammasat University and they had the permission to do that, but on Tuesday morning their permission was revoked,” he said.

“It’s a small protest at the moment, but it has probably been the most significant sign of resistance of protest movement against the military.”

A handful of protesters pushed up against police for several minutes to try to achieve their objective to march to the Government House before they were pushed back by the police forces.

One of the protest organisers, Sirawith Seritiwat, also known as Ja New, said protesters planned to march peacefully.

“I hope they will let us walk out. We have no intention to prolong today’s activities. I think they will try to stop us … we will not use violence,” Sirawith told Reuters news agency.

The government has delayed the general election repeatedly, which was first set for 2015, with the latest date now February 2019.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha reiterated on Tuesday that a general election will take place in “early 2019 and no sooner”.

Thailand has been rocked by pro- and anti-government street protests for more than a decade, some of them deadly.

The military says it carried out the 2014 coup to end the cycle of violence.

Source: Aljazeera

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Multiple bomb attacks by suspected separatist insurgents injured at least three people in Thailand’s far south on Sunday (May 20), the military said.

A decades-old separatist insurgency in predominantly Buddhist Thailand’s largely ethnic Malay, Muslim provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat has claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 people since 2004, according to the Deep South Watch group, which monitors the violence.

Successive governments have held talks with rebel groups aimed at bringing peace but the discussions have largely stalled, including under the current, military government.

In Sunday’s attacks, explosives were placed near ATM machines and bank branches in at least 14 locations across four southern provinces, including Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, as well as Songkhla province, the military said.

Continue reading: Channel NewsAsia

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Eight years ago my colleagues and I watched as the streets of Bangkok were covered with blood in one of Thailand’s most violent political confrontations. Yet there is still no justice for the at least 98 people killed and more than 2,000 injured between April and May 2010 – despite compelling evidence that the military was behind most of these abuses.
At the time, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship – also known as the Red Shirts – held a mass protest against the government of then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Human Rights Watch documented how the military used unnecessary and excessive force, especially as the military had designated “live fire zones” around protest sites – where soldiers shot protesters, medics, reporters, and bystanders in cold blood.

Continue reading: Human Rights Watch

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Street sign at Ratchprasong intersection cordoned off, police deployed, McDonald’s at Amarin Plaza to temporary close between 3 pm – 8 pm ahead of plan gathering by “Red Shirt” activists to mark anniversary of 2010 deadly military crackdown

Credit: Panu Wongcha-um

Citing the ban on political activities, the junta has pressed charges against eight Pheu Thai politicians for attacking the junta administration.

On 18 May 2018, Col Burin Thongprapai and Maj Gen Wijarn Jodtang, acting on behalf of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), filed charges against eight Pheu Thai politicians after they attacked the NCPO administration at a press briefing on Thursday.

The eight include Watana Muangsook, Chaturon Chaisang, Noppadon Pattama, Chaikasem Nitisiri, Phumtham Wechayachai, Pol Maj Gen Viroj Pao-In and Kittiratt Na-Ranong. They were accused of violating the Computer Crimes Act, sedition law and the NCPO Orders Number 3/2015, the junta’s ban on public gatherings of five people or more.

According to Spokesman of the NCPO Maj-Gen Piyapong, the NCPO decided to file charges against them because the party hosted the event despite warnings from the authorities.

“On 17 May, police officers visited Phue Thai Party to talked to the party leaders, who were preparing for the press briefing. The NCPO has not allowed political activities, and the police officers had told them the consequences, but the leaders still insisted on continuing the press briefing. You can see that the police didn’t allow them to do, but the leaders resisted, so the NCPO has to follow the law,” Piyapong told the media.

To commemorate the fourth anniversary of the 2014 Coup, the Pheu Thai politicians held the press briefing and criticised the junta’s political performance during the past four years. Before they began, however, the police asked to observe the event and warned the politicians that the briefing might constitute a violation of the junta’s orders.

Continue reading: Prachatai

A junta legal rep said Thursday he will file a police complaint against the Pheu Thai Party for violating the Computer Crime Act and political assembly ban.

Col. Burin Thongprapai’s threat was made as the party held a news conference to highlight what it described as seven failures by the military regime four years on since the May 2014 coup d’etat.

Police warned party executives they risked violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than four people. The party responded by cutting those at the conference table to two former ministers – Chaturon Chaisang and Watana Muangsook – and Choosak Sirinin, its chief legal officer.

Burin said the politicians not only violated the assembly ban but also the Computer Crime Act by showing the event on the party’s website.

The first of Pheu Thai’s seven complaints was that the junta failed to restore democracy as promised after the putsch. Secondly, it didn’t foster national reconciliation and instead ended up becoming a party to political conflicts. The third failure, Pheu Thai said, was the junta’s inability to eradicate graft while the fourth accused it of violating basic rights and liberties.

Continue reading: Khaosod English

The editor of the Bangkok Post newspaper has said he has been forced to step down after refusing to curtail critical coverage of the ruling military government.

Umesh Pandey, who has held the position since July 2016, said the board of directors had asked him to “tone down” the newspaper’s reporting and editorials on the actions of the military government, particularly over their suppression of freedom of speech and the delays over long-promised elections.

“When asked to tone down I did not budge and was blunt in letting those who make decisions know that I would rather lose my position than bow my head,” said Pandey in a written statement on Monday night. “The axe finally came down on me just 60 days before my two year contract ended.”

The Bangkok Post board is made up of some of the most powerful figures in Thai business and education, many with close ties to the government; one member, Wuttisak Lapcharoensap, was floated as education minister last year. Neither Pandey nor members of the Bangkok Post board responded to requests for comment.

Press freedom in Thailand has been notoriously restricted since the military junta took over in a bloodless coup in 2014, with numerous journalists arrested under laws which ban views the government considers to be “inconsistent with the truth” or under the strict lese majeste laws, which prevent any criticism of the King. Soldiers have been known to turn up at newspaper offices to ask about certain stories and in the 2016 Freedom House report, media in Thailand was certified as “not free”.

Continue reading: The Guardian