Unrest and Opposition Over Military Rule: Thailand on the Brink (Dispatch 4)

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As Thailand’s military tightens its grip on the nation, General Prayuth Chan-ocha has now received a royal endorsement — an essential piece of legitimacy — for his new position as head of the National Council for Peace and Order. Activists, politicians, students, and pro-government Red Shirt leaders continue to be detained by the junta, though it’s not clear how many have been detained. Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is said to have been released, though no one has seen or heard from her yet.

The junta is continuing to strike at the media and free speech, vowing to deal with any opposition or critics with force. Yet anti-coup sentiment is on the rise. Each day protesters appear on the streets in the evening in busy areas to call for a return to democracy. For all the army’s threats, it has not yet used any deadly force against the protesters on the streets.

VICE News is on the ground in the “Land of Smiles” as the situation becomes more volatile and conflict engulfs the nation.

More from VICE News:

“Thailand’s Military Denies Briefly Banning Facebook” – https://news.vice.com/article/thailands-military-denies-briefly-banning-facebook

“Thailand’s Anti-Democratic Royalists Precipitate Political Chaos” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thailands-anti-democratic-royalists-precipitate-political-chaos

“Thai Court Ousts Prime Minister Over Abuse of Power” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thai-court-ousts-prime-minister-over-abuse-of-power

Watch all of VICE News’ coverage in Thailand: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw613M86o5o4-RjsEafwq6J8R-QUs9n-X

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Thai Military Declares Coup d’État: Thailand on the Brink (Dispatch 3)

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Thailand’s military detained former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday in the latest development of the country’s unraveling political crisis.

The army, which is consolidating its grip on Thailand following Thursday’s coup d’état, barred 155 prominent citizens from leaving the country.

More from VICE News:

“Thailand’s Anti-Democratic Royalists Precipitate Political Chaos” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thailands-anti-democratic-royalists-precipitate-political-chaos

“Thai Court Ousts Prime Minister Over Abuse of Power” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thai-court-ousts-prime-minister-over-abuse-of-power

Watch all of VICE News’ coverage in Thailand: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw613M86o5o4-RjsEafwq6J8R-QUs9n-X

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Thai Protesters Occupy Government House: Thailand on the Brink (Dispatch 2)

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Thailand’s political crisis deepens, as the anti-government PDRC takes advantage of the political chaos following the ousting of Thailand’s former caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her ministers last Wednesday.

The PDRC protesters were quick to announce that they’ll keep fighting until Yingluck’s entire cabinet steps down, despite the fact that the vast majority of Thais voted for the government they are trying to oust. The PDRC is short for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee and has always, as the name implies, wanted to install a non-elected people’s committee to take over the power in Thailand, in order to rid the country of what they refer to as the influence of the corrupt former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra – Yingluck’s brother.

VICE News follows the PDRC protesters as they relocate their HQ to the official Government House, which shows just how much support they have within the political halls of power. This has enraged the tens of thousands of pro-government red shirts camped in the outskirts of Bangkok. The local press warns of an impending Thai-tanic.

More from VICE News:

“Thailand’s Anti-Democratic Royalists Precipitate Political Chaos” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thailands-anti-democratic-royalists-precipitate-political-chaos

“Thai Court Ousts Prime Minister Over Abuse of Power” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thai-court-ousts-prime-minister-over-abuse-of-power

Watch all of VICE News’ coverage in Thailand: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw613M86o5o4-RjsEafwq6J8R-QUs9n-X

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Ousted Prime Minster Sparks New Protests: Thailand on the Brink (Dispatch 1)

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Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her ministers were forced to step down Wednesday over allegations of abuse of power — which has ignited heated protests by members of the country’s “Red Shirt” movement.

Supporters of the ousted leader — whose brother, Thailand’s former Prime Minister, was also ejected — called the move a coup and poured onto the streets of the capital. Meanwhile, the opposing anti-government movement, that for months has been calling for a new government, celebrated the victory.

VICE News takes a look at these opposing rallies and the political vacuum ahead for Thailand.

Watch Part 2 on vicenews.comhttps://news.vice.com/video/thailand-on-the-brink-dispatch-2

More from VICE News:

“Thailand’s Anti-Democratic Royalists Precipitate Political Chaos” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thailands-anti-democratic-royalists-precipitate-political-chaos

“Thai Court Ousts Prime Minister Over Abuse of Power” –
https://news.vice.com/article/thai-court-ousts-prime-minister-over-abuse-of-power

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Thailand On The Edge: Dispatch One

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Thailand’s pro-government Red Shirt demonstrators have started to gather 12 miles outside of the center of Bangkok, right at the heart of the anti-government protests being led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). If upcoming court rulings go as anticipated, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is likely to be ousted from power — and the PDRC is saying they will appoint their own unelected leader in her place. If this happens, Red Shirt leaders and their supporters have said that they will come out and fight, putting the country at risk of quickly spiraling into civil war.

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A Civil War in Thailand?: Bangkok Rising

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For almost a decade, Thailand has been trapped in a bloody conflict between supporters and opponents of the tycoon-turned-politician, Thaksin Shinawatra. During his time as prime minister, Thaksin improved life for the poor and the working class, while his autocratic tendencies and crony capitalism led his opponents, mainly made up of royalists and the middle class, to rise up.

Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 for alleged abuse of power and corruption. Since then Thaksin’s opponents — widely known as the Yellow Shirts — and his avid supporters, the Red Shirts, have taken turns instigating mass protests to topple their opponents. While attempting to clear her brother’s name of corruption charges in November 2013, Thaksin’s sister and Thailand’s current PM Yingluck Shinawatra triggered a new Yellow Shirt uprising that has so far killed a reported 23 people and injured hundreds.

Yingluck Shinawatra tried to diffuse the protests by dissolving Thailand’s parliament and calling for new elections. But the Yellows, determined to overthrow her, began a shutdown of Bangkok on January 13th, bringing the capital to a standstill. Since the election was annulled on March 31st, Red Shirts are mobilizing and intensifying their threats of starting a civil war.

VICE News was on the ground to capture Thailand’s state of emergency as the long running battle for Thailand is coming to a head.

Watch the documentary on Thai Royalists: “For King and Country” – https://news.vice.com/video/for-king-and-country

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