Thailand held its elections early on Sunday, and the notorious anti-government protesters stopped the hundreds of thousands from casting their votes in Bangkok. The protesters did so by blocking the polling centers throughout Bangkok and the majority of Southern Thailand. It is the ambitious goal of these protesters to end democracy and replace it in what is known as the “shutdown Bangkok” effort.
It has just recently been reported that protest leader Suthin Tharatin was killed as a result of the protester’s efforts to stop vote casting in Thailand. It was while Tharatin was addressing the protesters whist standing on top of a truck that the protest leader was shot dead. In addition, there have been a total of eleven wounded as a result of this protest. Citizens of the surrounding Bangkok area are experiencing increasing fears of similar violence as the Bangkok emergency services continues to bring reports such as these to the public.
Regardless of the countless promises made by protest leaders stating that they would not obstruct the polls, the protesters started off the protest by chaining the polling centers off. The protesters managed to cease the voting at 49 of the 50 polling centers in Bangkok. Also, it has just recently been reported that the protesters have also managed to disrupt voting from occurring in 10 of the 76 provinces in Thailand.
As a result of the protester’s actions, the Thailand elections commission made an announcement that the voting that was scheduled for February 2 would have to postponed due to the possibility of violence and destruction.
The protesting in Thailand that has stopped vote casting from occurring in Bangkok is part of the radicals long developing movement to rid the country’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her family, and to establish parliamentary rule.
When speaking on the matter, Sunai Phasuk from the Humans Rights Watch commented, “Today is the day that Thailand and the rest of the world gets to see the true face of this protest movement.” In addition, the researched noted, “You can’t expect to battle corruption, and stop Democracy. This movement is using a type of thuggery in order to stop our voting process.”
The Thailand protesters recent movement in stopping vote casting shows a weakness in the Thai government. This protest has been going on for a duration of two months, and still the Thai government is unwilling to act against the Thai protesters. In the last two months, Thai protesters have managed to shut down Bangkok office building, intersections, and voting from occurring. Prior to Tharatin’s death, the leader had made a statement that the protesters would, “fight until they win.”
At this point, every political party of Thailand is opposed to the election. So, the Thai government finds itself in a difficult position where they meeting opposition from both protestors and other political parties. The Election Committee had asked the Thai government numerous times to postpone the election, and feels that the government has lengthened this process longer than it needed to be. In addition, the Constitution Court came to the decision that this could occur if the two agree on a date, which is contradictory to a sixty year old mandate in the Thai Constitution.
It is at this time that the Thai government has put a state of emergency into effect.
By Aaron Weis