Thailand

New Thai government faces pressure to ditch election pledges

By Peter Symonds, 14 July 2011

Having raised expectations during the election campaign, any move by the new government to abandon its promises to working people would heighten social and political tensions.

After the Thai election: A warning to the working class

By Peter Symonds, 8 July 2011

No one should be under any illusion that Puea Thai’s win has brought to power a government that will act in the interests of the millions of urban and rural poor who voted for it.

Pro-Thaksin party to form next Thai government after election win

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 5 July 2011

The election outcome expressed the bitter resentment among the urban and rural poor involved last year in months of anti-government protests that were violently crushed by army.

US-China rivalry compounds Thai election tension

By Peter Symonds, 2 July 2011

The renewed American focus on Thailand stems from a sense that the US has allowed China to strengthen its influence in Bangkok at the expense of longstanding strategic ties with Washington.

Political unrest looms after Thai elections

By John Roberts, 28 June 2011

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s election, further political unrest is possible amid infighting in Thai ruling circles.

Election campaign heightens Thai political tensions

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 16 June 2011

The campaign for the July 3 election is revealing the rifts in ruling circles, as well as the social tensions behind the military’s suppression of “Red Shirt” protests last year.

ASEAN summit fails to resolve Thai-Cambodian conflict

By John Roberts, 12 May 2011

At present, the border conflict appears to be driven primarily by internal political considerations but both Washington and Beijing are no doubt calculating how best to exploit the Thai-Cambodian tensions to their own advantage.

Renewed fighting on Thai-Cambodian border

By John Roberts, 27 April 2011

Clashes erupted last Friday near two ancient temples, about 160 kilometres west of the Preah Vihear temple where fighting took place in early February.

Thai government prepares for early election

By John Roberts, 23 April 2011

None of the divisions within the ruling elites that led to last year’s military crackdown has been resolved.

Thailand: a bonanza for international investors

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2011

The Thai government headed by Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai is being hailed in the world's financial centres as a model for the International Monetary Fund's intervention into the Asian economic crisis.

UN rejects intervention in Thai-Cambodian border tensions

By John Roberts, 21 February 2011

By handing the border conflict to ASEAN, which historically has had little influence in dealing with the rival interests of its member-states, the UN Security Council inflamed an already volatile situation.

Thai-Cambodian border clash driven by internal political tensions

By John Roberts, 9 February 2011

Instability and political machinations within Thailand appear to be the key factors behind the renewed conflict.

Opposition rally in Thailand cuts across government’s election manoeuvres

By John Roberts, 18 January 2011

The demonstration was the first major mobilisation of Thaksin supporters since the government ended the state of emergency in the capital and three surrounding provinces on December 22.

WikiLeaks cable reveals US role in 2006 Thai coup

By John Chan, 18 December 2010

A US diplomatic cable has shown that Washington knew in advance of the preparations for the 2006 military coup that ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Court ruling protects Thai government

By John Roberts, 14 December 2010

In a politically motivated decision, the Constitutional Court in Thailand has dismissed charges of electoral fraud against the ruling Democrat Party.

Thailand: Bangkok rally highlights continuing political tensions

By John Roberts, 25 September 2010

Anti-government protesters held a large demonstration last Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2006 military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thai government rules out early election

By John Roberts, 9 September 2010

Despite the government’s promises of reconciliation, the climate of repression continues in Thailand, with emergency rule still in force and key opposition leaders either in jail or being hunted by security forces.

Thai government extends emergency rule

By John Roberts, 8 July 2010

Emergency rule has been prolonged under conditions of simmering resentment and social discontent.

UN report reveals deep social divide in Thailand

By John Braddock, 23 June 2010

A report released last month points to the underlying social tensions that helped fuel recent anti-government protests in Bangkok.

Thai government continues crackdown on opposition

By John Roberts, 18 June 2010

Despite a so-called national reconciliation plan, the Thai government and military are still detaining and pursuing anti-government protesters.

Thai prime minister survives no-confidence vote

By John Roberts, 5 June 2010

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government defeated censure motions in the country’s parliament on Tuesday, in a bitter debate that demonstrates that Abhisit is not prepared to make any concessions.

Thai government widens political witch hunt

By John Roberts, 29 May 2010

Despite its calls for “reconciliation” in the wake of last week’s military’s crackdown on the “Red Shirt” protests, the Thai government is extending its dragnet of opposition leaders and supporters.

The political lessons of the Thai protests

By Peter Symonds, 27 May 2010

Last week’s military crackdown may have crushed anti-government protests in Bangkok but the underlying social tensions and political issues remain and will inevitably erupt again.

Thai government maintains state of emergency

By John Roberts, 24 May 2010

Following last Wednesday’s military crackdown, Thai Prime Minister Vejjajiva has ruled out a national election in the immediate future and continued the state of emergency in Bangkok and other provinces.

Bangkok’s bloody events: a warning

By Peter Symonds, 22 May 2010

There has been no international condemnation of the Thai military’s crackdown on anti-government protesters in Bangkok that left more than 80 people dead and hundreds injured.

Heavy military presence continues in Bangkok

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 21 May 2010

The Thai government yesterday extended the curfew in Bangkok and a third of the country’s provinces after troops cracked down on “red shirt” protesters on Wednesday.

Thai military crushes Bangkok protest

By John Roberts, 20 May 2010

At least six people were killed and more than 60 injured yesterday when the Thai army cracked down on anti-government protesters in Bangkok.

Thai demonstrators defy government ultimatum to end protest

By John Roberts, 18 May 2010

After the deadline passed, the thousands of troops and police surrounding the protesters’ barricades held off a direct assault. A nervous standoff continues this morning.

Thai military escalates crackdown

By John Roberts, 17 May 2010

The Thai military is poised to move against thousands of anti-government protesters encamped in Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong commercial district.

Ten dead as Thai military lays siege to protesters

By John Roberts, 15 May 2010

At least 10 people have been killed and 125 wounded over the past two days after the Thai military sealed off all access to the anti-government protest site in Bangkok.

Thai government’s deal with protesters breaks down

By John Roberts, 13 May 2010

An agreement reached last week between the Thai government and the opposition United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship appears to have collapsed after opposition protesters refused to disperse.

Thai protest leaders agree to government deal

By John Roberts, 6 May 2010

While UDD leaders accepted in principle a government proposal for a November election, none of the underlying political and social tensions that provoked the protracted protests have been resolved.

Thai prime minister issues election offer to protesters

By Peter Symonds, 4 May 2010

Abhisit’s proposal amounted to an ultimatum that came with thinly veiled threats. As the prime minister outlined his plan, an army spokesman said security forces were preparing to use armoured vehicles to disperse the protesters.

Uneasy standoff in Bangkok after violent clash

By John Roberts, 30 April 2010

A clash on Wednesday between anti-government protestors and Thai security forces has left one soldier dead and two others injured, along with 16 demonstrators.

Political stalemate continues in Thailand

By John Roberts, 27 April 2010

The crisis in Bangkok is intensifying as thousands of anti-government protesters entrenched in the upmarket Ratchaprasong commercial area confront heavily armed soldiers and police.

Military menaces anti-government protesters in Thailand

By John Roberts, 21 April 2010

A tense standoff continues between heavily-armed troops and thousands of anti-government protesters in the Ratchaprasong commercial area of Bangkok.

Thai government prepares new crackdown on protests

By John Roberts, 17 April 2010

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva set the stage on Friday for a showdown between the army and anti-government protesters who continue to occupy Bangkok’s main commercial district.

The class struggle in Thailand

By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2010

What has erupted in Thailand is the elemental first stage of class struggles that have broad significance for workers throughout the region and internationally.

Thai government shaky as mass protests continue

By John Roberts, 14 April 2010

The political crisis in Thailand has deepened following Saturday’s deadly street battles on the streets of Bangkok.

Thai military crackdown on anti-government protest leaves 21 dead

By John Braddock and Peter Symonds, 12 April 2010

At least 21 people are dead and 874 injured after fierce street battles erupted on Saturday in central Bangkok as soldiers in riot gear attempted to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters.

Thai government imposes state of emergency, but protests continue

By John Roberts, 9 April 2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seized on a protest at the national parliament on Wednesday to declare a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.

Anti-government protests continue in Thailand

By John Roberts, 7 April 2010

Red-shirted pro-Thaksin demonstrators in Bangkok are demanding new elections, maintaining a three-week protest.

Mass protests in Thai capital as political crisis continues

By John Braddock, 16 March 2010

Tens of thousands of supporters of Thailand’s former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, rallied in Bangkok on Sunday and yesterday in ongoing protests.

Thai-Cambodian tensions escalate over Thaksin appointment

By John Roberts, 16 November 2009

A diplomatic row between Bangkok and Phnom Penh over Cambodia’s appointment of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic advisor intensified last week.

Anti-government rally on third anniversary of Thai coup

By John Roberts, 21 September 2009

The opposition is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Democratic Party-led government.

Sri Lanka kidnaps LTTE leader

By Sarath Kumara, 15 August 2009

Sri Lankan military intelligence operatives last week seized the newly appointed leader of the separatist LTTE, Selvarasa Pathmanathan, in South East Asia and flew him back Colombo.

Clinton’s ASEAN appearance signals US “back in Asia”

By John Chan, 28 July 2009

In a bid to bolster US standing and counter growing Chinese influence, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the ASEAN summit in Thailand and signed ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

Thai mosque shootings point to government/military rift

By John Roberts, 30 June 2009

Ongoing differences between Thailand’s shaky coalition government and the military were highlighted by an attack on a mosque in the country’s unstable southern region on June 8.

Thai economy contracts, exacerbating political tensions

By John Roberts, 29 May 2009

Efforts by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to stabilise his shaky coalition government are being undermined by the country’s deteriorating economy.

Thai government offers a small olive branch to opposition parties

By John Roberts, 29 April 2009

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva last Friday lifted the state of emergency imposed to suppress anti-government protests that shut down the ASEAN summit, and called for political reconciliation between his government and the opposition.

The lessons of Thailand’s political upheaval

By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2009

The elemental eruption of anger on the streets of Bangkok on Monday has highlighted the political impasse facing the Thai working class.

Anti-government protestors clash with soldiers in Thai capital

By Peter Symonds, 14 April 2009

Thailand’s protracted political standoff within the ruling elite between supporters and opponents of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra took on a new dimension yesterday as sections of the urban poor joined the protests against the current regime.

Thai government besieged by pro-Thaksin protestors

By Alex Lantier, 13 April 2009

Thailand's military-backed government is teetering on the brink of collapse after protests by supporters of exiled ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra culminated in Saturday's siege and evacuation of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Pattaya.

ASEAN summit: amid talk of cooperation, economic rivalry on the rise

By John Chan, 5 March 2009

The annual summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok last weekend followed what is becoming a familiar pattern at top-level international gatherings. Amid a sharp downturn in all 10 member states, ASEAN leaders pledged themselves to economic cooperation and free trade, even as they resort to protectionist measures.

Thai court jails Australian writer for insulting the king

By John Roberts, 17 February 2009

The heavy-handed defence of King Bhumibol Adulyadej is another sign that, far from being over, the country’s protracted political crisis is embroiling the monarchy, which has been the crucial lynchpin of the Thai state for decades.

Hundreds of refugees perish at hands of Thai army

By Mike Head, 29 January 2009

Pictures published in the international media this week confirm recent reports that hundreds of refugees have been towed out to sea by the Thai Army and abandoned with little food or water.

More than 60 dead in New Year’s Eve fire in Bangkok

By Dragan Stankovic, 6 January 2009

Up to 1,000 people were packed into the Santika nightclub in Bangkok on New Year’s Eve when a fire broke out. The building was a fire trap, which lacked adequate fire prevention and safety measures, including sufficient emergency exits.

New Thai prime minister takes office amid continuing protests

By John Roberts, 31 December 2008

Blocked by protestors from entering parliament, newly-installed Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva delivered his first policy speech yesterday at the foreign ministry building three kilometres away and a day later than intended.

Third new Thai government installed in four months

By John Roberts, 18 December 2008

A special session of the Thai parliament on Monday voted in Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the third new prime minister in four months. While the former opposition leader has a parliamentary majority and the backing of Thailand’s traditional elites, including the military, his government is likely to be as unstable as its predecessors.

Thai military plays key role in forming new government

By John Roberts, 11 December 2008

After intense behind-the-scenes manoeuvring, Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party announced it had the numbers to form a new government. The push is the outcome of a protracted campaign by anti-government protesters, backed by the monarchy, the military, the state bureaucracy and the courts, to oust the elected government.

Thai court dismisses the government

By Peter Symonds, 3 December 2008

In a highly political decision, Thailand’s Constitutional Court effectively sacked the government yesterday by dissolving the ruling People Power Party and two of its coalition partners. Anti-government protests that paralysed Bangkok’s two main airports for a week have been called off, but the country’s protracted political crisis is far from over.

Airport occupations bring Thailand to political breaking point

By John Roberts, 1 December 2008

Political tensions in Thailand are reaching breaking point as anti-government protesters from the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) continue to occupy Bangkok’s two main airports—Suvarnabhumi international and Don Muang domestic.

Airport siege heightens Thailand’s political crisis

By John Roberts, 27 November 2008

The standoff between the Thai government and the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) intensified sharply on Tuesday after PAD protestors seized control of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Photographs from the centre of Thailand’s political storm

22 November 2008

For months, Bangkok has been wracked by bitter feuding between pro- and anti-government factions of the Thai ruling elite. The WSWS presents here a series of photographs of recent events in Bangkok.

Thailand’s political crisis intensifies amid economic slowdown

By John Roberts, 5 November 2008

The political turmoil surrounding the Thai government is continuing unabated. Anti-government protesters remain entrenched at Government House in central Bangkok. Their leaders, backed by the country’s military chiefs and the monarchy, are demanding the resignation of the government.

As share market plunges, political crisis in Thailand deepens

By John Roberts, 11 October 2008

Violent clashes this week in Bangkok between police and anti-government demonstrators point to a growing desperation in Thailand's ruling circles to end the months-long stand-off between the People Power Party (PPP)-led ruling coalition and the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

New Thai prime minister installed amid continuing political turmoil

Anti-government protests

By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 19 September 2008

After a week of sharp political twists and turns, Thailand’s parliament elected Somchai Wongsawat as new prime minister on Wednesday. Far from ending the protracted political crisis in Bangkok, the selection of Somchai, will only intensify the standoff with the Peoples Alliance for Democracy, which has vowed to continue its anti-government protests.

Thai court sacks prime minister over cooking show “corruption”

Differences over economic policy

By Peter Symonds, 11 September 2008

The political impasse in Thailand descended into farce on Tuesday when the country’s Constitutional Court ordered the dismissal of Prime Minister Samak Samaravej, along with his cabinet, because Samak hosted a cooking show on commercial television.

Thai prime minister imposes state of emergency but political crisis continues

By Peter Symonds, 4 September 2008

The standoff between pro- and anti-government factions of the Thai political establishment continues unabated two days after the imposition of a state of emergency in Bangkok. Despite a ban on political gatherings and the stationing of troops on the streets, thousands of Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demonstrators remain entrenched in the Government House compound, which they have occupied since August 26.

Standoff intensifies between Thai government and protesters

By John Roberts, 1 September 2008

The political crisis in Thailand continued over the weekend as thousands of anti-government protesters remained in occupation of government buildings in Bangkok and forced the temporary closure of three regional airports. Rail workers have shut down sections of the country’s network and other unions are threatening to take industrial action.

Thai government clings to office amid continuing political turmoil

By John Roberts, 16 July 2008

The Thai government was shaken last week by a series of legal rulings that led to the resignation of two senior ministers and could result in the banning of the Peoples Power Party (PPP)—the main partner in the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Constitutional amendments stoke tensions in Thai ruling circles

By John Roberts, 14 April 2008

None of the political tensions in Thai ruling circles that led to the 2006 military coup have dissipated following last December’s national election. The installation of a coalition government led by the Peoples Power Party (PPP), which is loyal to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has created an uneasy standoff with the military and its backers, who removed Thaksin. The PPP’s plans to alter the constitution are now threatening to trigger renewed political conflict.

Why are the Thai authorities so sensitive about Anna and the King?

By Carol Divjak and Peter Symonds, 3 April 2000

Late last year, the Thai censorship board banned Hollywood's latest remake of Anna and the King of Siam, the nineteenth century story of the English school teacher Anna Leonowens and the King of Thailand, then called Siam. Starring Jodie Foster and the Chinese actor Chow Yun-fat, the filming of Anna and the King revealed from the outset the sensitivities of Thai politicians to any slight to the Thai monarchy—either real or imagined.

Continuing fallout from financial crisis

Thai government survives no-confidence motion

By Carol Divjak and Peter Symonds, 21 January 2000

The Thai government of Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai comfortably survived a no-confidence motion in the week before Christmas by 229 to 125. But the five-day debate left some marks on the principal opposition targets—Finance Minister Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda and Interior Minister Sanan Kachornprasart—and highlighted the potential for further political fallout from the country's heavily indebted financial system.

Thai factory explosion kills 35 workers

By Steve Dean, 9 October 1999

A large explosion at the Hong Thai Kaset Pattana fruit processing plant in Thailand on September 19 flattened the buildings, killing 35 workers and injuring over 100. More than 40 people are still unaccounted for. Two explosions ripped apart the factory complex near the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai and created a 30-metre wide crater. Bricks and large lumps of concrete were spread over a four-acre area. The blasts were caused by the ignition of a stock of the volatile chemical, potassium chlorate, illegally stored in the plant.

US chemical weapons testing scandal in Thailand

By Steve Dean, 25 June 1999

Details are continuing to emerge from Thailand of a growing scandal and cover-up involving the US and Thai military, environmental agencies and the Thai government, concerning US chemical weapons testing in Thailand in 1964-65.

Thai garment workers appeal for support

By Terry Cook, 4 May 1999

Garment workers sacked from the German-owned Splendid garment factory on the Baangplee Industrial Estate, in Samuthprakarn, have spoken out against the appalling working conditions at the plant and have appealed for workers internationally to support their struggle for reinstatement.

Thailand: PM pleads for changes to IMF terms

By the Editorial Board, 23 January 1998

The recently-installed Thai government headed by Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has issued an urgent appeal to the IMF to modify the terms of its $17.2 billion rescue package. Tough new controls on finance and high interest rates have led to a series of bankruptcies and a collapse in economic growth.