Significant foreign coverage of political crisis in Bangkok

national December 23, 2013 00:00

By Takayuki Kanaboshi

The Nati

Many foreign media outlets reported on the anti-government marches and rally on Sunday to try to stop the February 2 election, which brought traffic in central Bangkok to a halt and clogged two commercial districts.

Reports ran on the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera and in the Straits Times in Singapore. Others have also reported on the protesters’ quest for reform before the election. Estimates for the crowd on Sunday ranged from 100,000 to 160,000 – and much higher, depending on the sources. The protest leaders said they expected a turnout of several million.

The reports said protesters were calling for Yingluck to resign and asking for a "people’s party". The Guardian said the protesters were "renouncing democracy".

Most of the foreign media also reported on the Democrats’ intention to boycott the polls, and that if the election goes ahead it was likely that Pheu Thai would once again be in charge. Every election since 2001 has been won by a party led or backed by the PM’s brother Thaksin.

On Monday, protesters blocked the stadium where parties were registering for the ballot, although some were able to register in the early morning.

Jonathan Head, the BBC correspondent in Bangkok is one who has noted that some protesters have argued for an abandonment of the one person one vote principle, with residents in Bangkok upset that Pheu Thai’s popularity in rural areas has helped it achieve electoral dominance.

While nine parties were able to register yesterday, another 25 were expected to lodge complaints with the police, according to the Election Commission (EC).

The repeated protests and marches have hit tourism arrivals and the economy. Reuters was one news outlet that noted how the Thai Baht has plunged to its lowest level in three years.

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