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Protesters and police at the barricades in Bangkok on Sunday night

Bangkok Protest Turns on TV Outlets

Monday, November 25, 2013
PHUKET: The hundreds of thousands of protesters in Bangkok's streets will target television channels, the military and police today as concerns grow about Thailand's future.

The decision to march on the media outlets turns the massive but peaceful street revolt in an unpredictable and potentially dangerous direction.

Thailand's major free to air television channels effectively ignored the largest street demonstration Thailand has seen in years on Sunday, despite its obvious news value.

Many countries have issued travel advisories telling tourists to avoid the crowds in Bangkok. Today, with hundreds of thousands of people surging through the capital, those warnings are likely to become stronger.

Splintering the anti-government disturbance - by most estimates the protest brought between 500,000 and one million onto Bangkok's streets on Sunday - leaves police in Bangkok being forced to deal with incidents on-the-run.

The protesters aim to topple the ''Thaksin Shinawatra regime'' and end the corruption and nepotism now widely acknowledged under his government and subsequent ''Red'' governments.

However, many previous ''Red'' supporters have gone over to the traditionally ''Yellow'' opposition, blurring color lines and leaving the government of Thaksin's sister Yingluck, the present Prime Minister, increasingly exposed and liable to collapse at any moment.

Thirteen organisations and businesses have been nominated as the protesters' targets today.

They are the offices of Channel 3, Channel 5, Channel 7, Channel 9 and Channel 11, along with Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, the Royal Thai Air Force, the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Navy, the Royal Thai Police, the Royal Thai Metro Police, the Ministry of the Interior and the Bureau of Budget.

The media is being targetted for showing allegiance to the government. Protesters say figures revealing the true large scale of the demonstration have been suppressed and footage has been screened sparingly, if at all.

While the reaction of the military and police can vary depending on the attitude of individuals in charge, Thailand's military is likely to be as divided on the issue of government corruption as the rest of Thailand.

The higher echelons of the police, however, with a few notable exceptions, have been singled out and openly accused of buying promotions under the ''Thaksin system.''

In many instances so far, officials in lower positions in government departments have been among those who have joined the protesters.

Remarkably, the long-running stand-off in Bangkok's streets has remained peaceful. Concerns have multiplied with today's call to the protesters to target 13 different places.

Tourist destinations in other parts of Thailand beyond Bangkok, including Phuket, Pattaya, Samui and Chiang Mai, have been largely unaffected.

Comments

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Let's hope they don't block the Airports tomorrow
As I need to get home!!

Posted by Gregg P Cornell on November 25, 2013 09:12

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"Thirteen organisations and businesses have been nominated as the protesters' targets today."

One important fact is missing in your great article.

Whom is calling for the targeting of these organizations? Is it the original protest leader Suthep? Or as in the past Red protests, additional "leaders" stepped up and changed the face of this "democratic" protest to one of seemingly violence in "the name of Democracy".

Posted by Brad on November 25, 2013 09:12

Editor Comment:

Brad, this is not a Red protest, although Reds are also on the streets in much smaller numbers. I suggest you do more research. The protest is seen as anti-Thaksin, anti-corruption, crossing the lines of previous ''color'' politics, and uniting some people who would normally be categorised as ''Red'' with the opposition, which is no longer entirely ''Yellow.''

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I was interested to find out that the protest leader was accused of stealing from the poor to give to the rich 20 years ago

Posted by Sean on November 25, 2013 09:37

Editor Comment:

Accusations are one thing, Sean, guilt is another. Khun Suthep has more recently been accused of murder. He would have benefited if the amnesty bill had been passed. All we can tell you with accuracy is that it would be a mistake to make assumptions about anyone on the basis of accusations.

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Worrying to say the least and what knock on effects will it have for the Thai economy? It's in serious trouble as it is.

Posted by seht1912 on November 25, 2013 10:18

Editor Comment:

Historically, there is little correlation between preserving economies and revolutions. We don't know yet whether this a revolution, but we can say with certainty that the protesters are more concerned about good government than the economy.

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Suthep is scheduled to go on trial next month for the murder of some protesters in 2008. Why are we not hearing much on this?

Posted by Garry on November 25, 2013 11:36

Editor Comment:

Probably because it is not worth repeating over and over again in the context of what's happening in Bangkok, Garry.

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"The protesters aim to topple the ''Thaksin Shinawatra regime'' and end the corruption and nepotism...."

Is it a fact that corruption and nepotism have never existed and never will exist under another government?

Posted by Sherlock on November 25, 2013 11:39

Editor Comment:

No, but corruption and nepotism under Thaksin is said to have reached new heights. A serious campaign to wipe out all corruption would do no harm.

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Actually this particular campaign does harm. All that is obtained are travel warnings. It is quite dubious if this protests will do any good concerning corruption.

Posted by Sherlock on November 25, 2013 13:36

Editor Comment:

You are looking at it from the viewpoint of a person in the tourism industry, not a protester incensed with the way corruption is destroying the country. Are your priorities right?

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The destructive corruption has always existed under every government in Thailand. That it is said to be worse under Thaksin proves nothing.

Thus it is hard to understand, that this event will change anything concerning corruption, even if the riots will result in a new government.

Posted by Sherlock on November 25, 2013 18:34

Editor Comment:

There is no guarantee but change must come if Thailand is to have a future.

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Changes in a democratic country come with elections, but unfortunately here it has become a tradition, that the looser of elections use riots and occupations of public buildings, to get back in power, indifferent of the damage these actions do to Thailand.

Posted by Sherlock on November 26, 2013 12:08

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Thailand, or let's say the Thai have proved over and over again that they are not mature (or interested in) enough to have a democracy ... again and again they are pushed around at the streets serving other peoples agendas instead of that of their own...the Thais would be much more comfortable if the official system was that that actually rules the country, namely the good old feudal system ... where the local communities are run by the local influential people...exactly as things work already in Thailand.

Posted by Sailor on November 26, 2013 14:10

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Thaksin introduced a range of policies to alleviate rural poverty; highly popular, they helped reduce poverty by half in four years.[24][25] He launched the country's first universal healthcare program, the 30-baht scheme, as well as a highly notorious drug suppression campaign. Thaksin embarked on a massive program of infrastructure investment, including roads, public transit, and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Nevertheless, public sector debt fell from 57% of GDP in January 2001 to 41% in September 2006.[28][29] Levels of corruption were perceived to have fallen, with Transparency International's (Wikipedia.)
He was a deposed PM by a military coup. The Thai Rak Thai party won an unprecedented landslide in the 2005 general election.

Posted by brian on November 26, 2013 15:37

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I habe been planning to come to Bangkok next friday for 3 days and then Phuket for 4 more days.Now with these event ,honestly do you recommend me to come to Bangkok or to phuket or better to cancel it???

Posted by Elia Boles on November 26, 2013 18:39

Editor Comment:

There are no problems on Phuket. Better to come to Phuket and then see how things are in Bangkok.

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So the Democrat Party are trying to change the government with a mob of 500,000 people in Bangkok. hardly democratic is it?

The government did win a democratic election. The majority of Thais voted them in. That should be respected if Thailand wants any kind of peaceful future.

LOS no more.... very very sad imho and it can be seen in the faces of Thais every day

Posted by Joe on November 26, 2013 22:43

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My wife and I we are planing to go to krabi island and 26 to Bangkok, could you tell me is it safe to visit your country in this time? Because we want to cancel, today Thursday night! Please helme!

Posted by Anonymous on December 18, 2013 20:50

Editor Comment:

Perfectly safe to come to Thailand. Don't cancel. Krabi is especially lovely at this time of the year.

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we have ready to come to thailand to visit phuket and bankok for a week, so how are circumstances there and how is the weather condition.

Posted by supriya on December 26, 2013 00:14

Editor Comment:

The past few days have been perfect on Phuket but conditions continue to be impossible to predict in Bangkok.

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hello i have booked ticket for 7th feb for thailand and phuket
should i cancel cause of current problem or should continue wht u suggest???

Posted by Abhishek on January 26, 2014 21:34

Editor Comment:

There is nothing to indicate tourists are in danger on Phuket or in Thailand, although the situation remains unpredictable. The best suggestion is to stay in holiday areas and avoid the places where the protests are likely to take place. Monitoring events through news outlets and embassies is a good idea.

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we are comming on 27th feb.2014 in bankkok as a tourist,so we want to know wheather we come or not, we knew that some disterbance in thailand bankkok,please guide us.thanks.

Posted by h gajjar on February 19, 2014 16:09

Editor Comment:

Tourists are advised to stay away from the areas where the protesters are but there's no reason for you not to enjoy your trip provided you note the warnings and avoid trouble.

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Welcome to the Thailand travel advisory website.!

Posted by Manowar on February 19, 2014 18:39

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Ed - you will personally guarentee the safety of these toursits then....? or guarentee no violent outbursts in Phuket?

Posted by paul on February 19, 2014 18:58

Editor Comment:

Go away, paul. Give me a guarantee, please.

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@Brian, and let's not forget that Suvarnabhumi Airport was built on unsuitable land owned buy the Shinawatra clan , even though a more suitable site was available. The healthcare system was another vote buying scheme and the drug suppression scheme was condemned internationally a great deal of people died, without being charged, in other words, murdered. Thaksin also brought about policies that led to todays violence in the southern states.

Posted by Laurie Howells on February 20, 2014 13:42


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