Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hard hit for Yingluck Shinawatra:
Her government cannot pay rice farmers

January 30, Day 18 of Bangkok Shutdown: This could be a turning point for Thailands Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra: Her government is not able to pay rice farmers before the election on Sunday February 2. It failed to secure massive loans to pay farmers ahead of Sunday's election. "This bad news is likely to hit the ruling Pheu Thai Party hard at the ballot box, after many rice farmers threatened to boycott the election or vote against the party if they were not paid before the election", writes The Nation. Pheu Thai Party had strong support from the regions with the rice farmers in former elections. But now the rice farmers have been protesting for weeks, because their payment did not arrive.

January 29, Day 17 of Bangkok Shutdown: What happens in the head of anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban? He gave a rare interview to Bangkok Post: About how the police tries to catch him, how he escapes, about the money needed to finance the protest camps. From 'shutdown' to 'paralysis': Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Wednesday announced protest marches for three consecutive days that will paralyse Bangkok and turn it into one big “walking street and picnic ground” for Sunday’s general election, reports Bangkok Post.


January 28, Day 16 of Bangkok Shutdown: There seems to be no end of the confrontation between the anti-government-protesters and the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. The government insisted on Tuesday that the general election will go ahead as planned on Sunday February 2, despite Election Commission warnings over potential chaos and violence on polling day, reports Bangkok Post. In front of the Army Club a police member shot an anti-government protester. He was then attacked by anti-government protesters, as Bangkok Post describes. The so called Red Shirts, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, supporting Yingluck Shinawatra, has announced a mass rally for Friday in support of the election on Sunday, as The Nation writes.


January 23, Day 11 of Bangkok Shutdown: Suthep Taugsuban, leader of People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), received a warm welcome by tens of thousands of Bangkok people and foreigners alike when he marched along Asoke to Wireless roads, reports Thai PBS. Meanwhile the government of Yingluck Shinawatra has announced, that it focuses on the arrest of the protest leaders, as The Nation reports. Under the emergency decree invoked on Wednesday, the government banned public gatherings of five or more people. But in the same time the government speaker said, there would be no operation to disperse the street demonstration... Meanwhile rice farmers waiting for payment by the government become a more and more big problem for the government, as The Nation describes. They threat to punish the government parties in den February 2 election.


January 22, Day 10 of Bangkok Shutdown: Thai military is ready to take action if the political situation turns violent, army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said according to Bangkok Post. He warned that some groups were using illegal and violent methods to stir up unrest but they would not succeed. "I condemn these people. I have some information about who they are. I repeat my warning that they must not [use violence] again. We are gathering evidence so police can take legal action," Gen Prayuth said.
The anti-government protesters (PDRC) have seized town halls upcountry. In Narathiwat and Rayong state agency employees are off work for the rest of the week, as Bangkok Post reports. The Ratchaburi PDRC's protest was given a boost when farmers upset by the state's delayed rice-pledging payments joined its rally.


January 19, Day 7 of Bangkok Shutdown: Again bloody explosion: Twenty nine people were injured in a bomb explosion at the Victory Monument anti-government protest rally site at about 1.34pm. According to Bangkok Post an unidentified man threw an explosive device near a press centre tent behind the rally stage and ran off. He was chased by security guards and protesters, prompting him to toss another bomb.
On Saturday morning one protesters died after sustaining serious injuries in the Banthat Thong Road grenade attack on Friday. On Saturday protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban marched through Bangkok alongside the wife of the killed man. Read Bangkok Post.

January 17, Day 5 of Bangkok Shutdown: A daylight attack and grenade explosion injured 36 protesters marching on Banthat Thong road on Friday. The attack occurred at 1.04pm, the explosion hitting the protest about 200 metres from where PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban was leading the march from the Lumpini Park stage to Silom, Si Phraya and Banthat Thong roads. Read more on Bangkok Post. With anti-government protests looking set to continue, Bangkok appears likely to witness intensifying violence as days go by, reports The Nation.

January 16, Day 4 of Bangkok Shutdown: An M26 hand grenade was thrown into Suan Pakkad Palace on Si Ayutthaya Road, home of Bangkok Governor ML Sukhumbhand Paribatra on late Thursday night. No injuries were reported by Bangkok Post.Sukhumbhand is member of the oppositional Democrat Party.

Hundreds of Nonthaburi-based members of PDRC, the antigovernment-protesters, set up a stage in front of the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi. Nonthaburi is a stronghold of the red-shirts, who support prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. There are no signs of confrontations between the two groups in Nonthaburi until now, as Bangkok Post reports.

The Election Commission (EC) today sent a second letter asking caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to discuss postponing the February 2 elections, as Bangkok Post writes.

The Bangkok shutdown has affected motorists above all but also hotels, tourism, information technology and domestic consumption. Read more.

The fact-finding committee of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has decided to investigate Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in connection with the irregularities in the government's controversial rice pledging scheme, reports The Nation.


Picture by Sora Wong
What antigovernment-protesters in Bangkok are asking for


January 15, Day 3 of Bangkok Shutdown:
The shutdown campaign helps to improve environment: In Bangkok there is a sharp decrease in hazardous fine dust particles in the air - due to fewer cars on the roads, as Bangkok Post reports.

Attacks fire up tensions: Tuesday night two people were injured in a bomb and gun attack near the Chalerm La 56 bridge, not far from the Pathumwan intersection rally site. Then there was a bomb attack on the housing compound of Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. A bus taking protesters from the South to a rally site at Nang Loeng was set on fire, as Bangkok Post reports.

Rice-problems for government: The government of Yingluck Shinawatra is also under pressure on Thailands countryside. Rice farmers are complaining about payments, which are not coming. Rice farmers are threatening to block a major road linking Phitsanulok and Nakhon Sawan, as Bangkok Post reports.

Yingluck Shinawatra does not stop February 2 election: After holding a meeting the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra declared her government had no authority to postpone the February 2 election. But in the meantime the chances have not improved, that this election will really take place under regular conditions. Read more on The Nation.

Picture by Sora Wong
Anti-government protesters occupy Bangkoks streets


Day 2 of Bangkok Shutdown ended with prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra saying that she will not quit. PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban vowed to close all government offices in the coming days, and threatened to "detain" the prime minister and all members of her cabinet and cut power and water to their homes. "I think they [cabinet ministers] should send their children and spouses elsewhere," Mr Suthep warned according to Bangkok Post. At 0.10am an explosion near Hua Chang Bridge, on Phyathai Road, was reported. An injured man and a woman were transported to Chulalongkorn Hospital. The bridge is metres away from the Pathumwan rally site, as The Nation reports. The shopping centres Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery closed early at 6 pm.

Day 1 of Bangkok Shutdown - how the protests have unfolded on Monday January 13, reported by The Nation and by Bangkok Post. The seven intersections Lumpini, Asok, Ratchaprasong, Pathumwan, Victory Monument, Lat Phrao and Chaeng Watthana were blocked by the opponents of the government.

Man shot near a blockade late Sunday night, reports Bangkok Post

Anti-government protesters began their Bangkok shutdown at several locations late Sunday afternoon, reports Bangkok Post. The People's Democratic Reform Committee protesters began blocking traffic and setting up stages at Pathumwan intersection, Lat Phrao intersection, Chaeng Wattana Road and Victory Monument. More roads around Lat Phrao were closed after midnight.

Updates about Shutdown in English on FM88 Radio Station

45 countries issue travel warnings for Bangkok

Bangkok Hotel warns guests not to wear red or yellow clothes

Picture by drburtoni

Bangkok Shurdown - announced by anti-goverment protesters around leader Suthep Thaugsuban has begun Monday January 13 and goes on. A mass demonstration of tenthousands of people is planned to oust the interim-government of Yingluck Shinawatra. What does this mean for Thailand visitors?

Bangkok may be will see the biggest demonstrations forever. May be not.

The latest reliable updates with maps of the demonstrations and the situation at the airports Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang you will find here:

richardbarrow.com
Bangkok Post
The Nation
Tourism Authority of Thailand

Suthep Thangsuban gave assurances that Suvarnabhumi airport and transport terminals will not be sealed off, and all public transportation services will be operated as usual, writes aseanaffairs.com. If this will happen is unpredictable. Passengers are asked to be at airport four hours before departures.

The traffic inside Bangkok will be blocked by demonstrations. It has been announced, that between 6 to 20 important intersections will be blocked. A map has been published by Bangkok Post. For tourists it is important to avoid these areas or others, where demonstrations will take place. In the past weeks there have been violent incidents during the protests. And violent incidents are going in: Seven people were injured in a shooting near the People's Democratic Reform Committee's (PDRC) rally site early Saturday, near the Government Lottery Office and at Khok Wua intersection on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, as The Nation reports. In Pathum Thani antigovernemt-protesters clashed with red shirts on Friday January 10. 4 people were hurt. Read more.


Thailands police forces recommend to use public transports on Monday: The Airport Rail Link, the Skytrain and the Metro. From Skytrain it's possible to change to Chao Phraya Express Boats as you can read here. The transport ministry has announced that there will be extra-parkings around the town, shuttle buses, more frequent railway trains, more frequent skytrains and more frequent metrotrains.

Thai Airways International will close headquarters in Bangkok, but the airline's offices at Lan Luang, Silom, and Suvarnabhumi Airport's departure terminal will be open, as thailandqua.com notes.

Hundert companies of police and military forces will be ready in Bangkok to care for security during the protests, as Bangkok Post writes. A military coup is not excluded, but does not seem imminent for the moment.

The German Ambassador has told Germans in Thailand to have enough food stocks at their homes and have enough cash. For the banks it could be difficult to fill up the cash machines during the protests, interruptions of Credit Card payment and ATM could also be caused by interruptions of power or the internet. The US Embassy in Bangkok advises citizens: "It is prudent to ensure you have a week’s supply of cash, keep your mobile communications devices charged, and stock a two week supply of essential items such as food, water, and medicine".

It is unclear, what will happen after Monday January 13. The government fears a military coup. Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thursday he does not side with any of the groups in the political divide, nor is the military waiting for the right time to stage another coup. But he said as well: "If one side breaks the law and another side also breaks the law and responds with violence, it will damage the nation and every Thai and no soldier could accept this”, as Bangkok Post reported. Prayuth added later: "No one will stage a coup."

What could happen in the next days? "The Nation":
Analysts say military aims to prevent violence, rather than stage a coup
And what if the govt plays soft? Moves in the days ahead by both the government and the PDRC will determine whether Thailand will find a way out or will be trapped in darkness for a very long time.

The Election Commissions is asking the goverment to postpone elections planned for February 2.



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