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Thailand Live Tuesday 27 May 2014

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'Let us vote': Thai protesters defy junta and labels
by Aidan JONES

BANGKOK, May 27, 2014 (AFP) - From teachers and tour guides to financial consultants, a small band of anti-coup protesters from a spectrum of Thailand's divided society is taking to the streets to defy the kingdom's new junta.

Their message to the military rulers -- return power to the people.

Brought together by social media, they appear to be a leaderless motley crew who began massing within 24 hours of the seizure of power by army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha on May 22.

While some are avowed "Red Shirt" supporters of recently ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra, others reject labels that they are die-hard supporters of the toppled government.

Meem, a 27-year-old financial consultant, said he was unhappy with some elements of Yingluck's administration but stood by his right to vote.

"This is about right and wrong -- not about Thaksin," he said at a tense protest in central Bangkok, referring to Yingluck's elder brother, a tycoon-turned-populist politician whose overthrow as premier by the military in 2006 ignited the kingdom's long-running crisis.

"We sell the country as a democracy but in the end it's run by the army," he added. "It seems like Myanmar 20 years ago."

His views reflect a burgeoning angst among a slice of broadly young, educated middle-class Bangkok residents who want to exercise their right to vote and hope to see an end to the bitter split in Thai society.

That divide broadly pits the Bangkok-based establishment and royalist southerners against the Shinawatra family and its supporters, mostly in the north and northeast of the country.

- 'Totally unjust' -

The numbers of protesters peaked at around 1,000 on Sunday when a Red Shirt leader wanted by the army was due to make an appearance at a fast-food restaurant in central Bangkok.

But in the main they have been a small but vehement collection of around 100-200 people who have gathered at the city's Victory Monument or in the retail district through Facebook or other social networks.

"I am scared of course, but I have to be here," said 59-year-old teacher Yim. "This coup is totally unjust."

At another rally on Saturday, a tour guide giving his name only as Piti said he had to come to witness the army response to the protest as strict media curbs had cut his ability to follow events.

"I'm not 'Red' or 'Yellow'," he said referring to the colours of Thailand's rival political factions. "I just want peace, democracy and freedom."

The daily rallies have become a cat-and-mouse game between protesters and the army, posing a direct challenge to the tough-talking junta, which has warned it will not brook any dissent.

The regime is monitoring social media, has cordoned off roads to stop protesters massing and coralled those brave enough to attend rallies with troops armed with riot shields and weapons.

It has not -- so far -- used force to end the rallies.

Army loudspeakers on Monday warned people they were breaking the law and tried to incite onlookers to take their own action to clear the road of protesters.

Soldiers have also extensively photographed and filmed the crowd.

Nine protesters have been arrested in Bangkok and have been taken into police custody, according to the authorities.

At least 10 others were arrested over the weekend in northern Chiang Mai.

The army chief has threatened a wider crackdown and even warned that the families of protesters were vulnerable.

Despite the risks, one 33-year-old office worker said she felt compelled to join a rally on Monday afternoon.

"The big picture is we're scared of where this country is going... you can't fix a problem with another problem -- a coup is not neutral," she said, asking not to be named.

Her friend said she feared losing her job if her pro-coup boss saw her at the rally.

"More people will come. We are all sick," she said. "Yes, we want a better government than (under Yingluck) but the system has to run -- don't tear it apart with a coup. We want to vote."

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-- (c) Copyright AFP 2014-05-27

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Chaturon taken away by troops at FCCT

BANGKOK: -- Ousted education minister Chaturon Chaisang was Tuesday taken away by troops after he held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok's Chidlom area.


He did not resist when troops took him away.

He is on the list of prominent figures summoned by the National Council for Peace and Order.

"Don’t worry," Chaturon told foreign reporters when he was being taken away.

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-- The Nation 2014-05-27

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Foreign tourists drop by 20 per cent following martial law imposition: permanent official

BANGKOK: -- The arrival of foreign tourists has dropped by 20 per cent following the imposition of martial law, Permanent Secretary for Sports and Tourism Suwat Sidthilaw said Tuesday.


Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Navy chief Adm Narong Pipattanasai, Suwat said the number of foreign tourists had fallen by tens of thousands.

He said he had received complaints from tourism operators in key tourist destinations, such as Pataya and Phuket, that the curfew affected their businesses.

Narong said the operators would like the military junta to ease the curfew order.

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-- The Nation 2014-05-27

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Passport office at Chaeng Wattana to resume service

BANGKOK: -- The Foreign Ministry's Consular Affairs Department will resume full services next week, including the issuance of passports.


The department suspended its operations late last year after antigovernment protesters staged mass rallies in Bangkok and a group of demonstrators occupied an area near the department on Chaeng Wattana Road.

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-- The Nation 2014-05-27

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Thai junta says former PM Yingluck released and at home

BANGKOK, May 27, 2014 (AFP) - Thailand's junta said Tuesday former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had been released from military detention and allowed to return home, in the first official confirmation of her whereabouts since she was detained last week.

Yingluck, who led the former Puea Thai government until she was removed by a controversial court ruling in early May, was detained on May 23 after reporting to the army.

"She (Yingluck) has been released," junta spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said, without specifying when she was freed.

"Everyone released must sign an agreement to inform the National Council of Peace and Order about their whereabouts clearly," he said, adding that related to major movements only and she would be allowed to go "shopping".

He did not confirm if her home was being watched over by soldiers.

Yingluck was among scores of leading figures from both sides of the political divide to be detained by an army sweep after it seized power on May 22.

For days her exact location remained a mystery.

She is the younger sister of billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a corruption charge but who sits at the heart of the nation's deep political divide.

Thailand's coup leader Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha has imposed sweeping curbs on the media, ordered the detention of influential political figures and warned he will not tolerate further protests by anti-coup demonstrators.

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-- (c) Copyright AFP 2014-05-27

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Chaiyaphum invites people to the Siamese Tulip Blooming Festival

CHAIYAPHUM, 27 May 2014 (NNT) - Chaiyaphum invites people to the 2014 Siamese Tulip Blooming Festival from June 1 – August 31, 2014 at Pa Hin Ngam National Park, Thep Sathit District, and Sai Thong National Park, Nong Bua Rawe District, Chaiyaphum Province.


Tourists can enjoy exhibitions, Siamese Tulip fields and OTOP products. Visitors can also enjoy the wonder of a beautiful rock garden, a naturally shaped rock forest, that's over a million years old, with performances, and the distribution of Chaiyaphum’s famous products.

See the white, green and pinkish–purple Siamese Tulip fields and Sai Thong Waterfall. Pha Ham Hot view point at Sai Thong National Park is another attraction awaiting tourists with a love for the sustainable tourism of Chaiyaphum province.


Those interested can ask for more information from the Chaiyaphum Public Relations Office, Tel. 044-822502, or the Tourism Information Center, Chaiyaphum Provincial Administration Organization.

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-- NNT 2014-05-27 footer_n.gif

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Little risk in Thailand business despite coup: Japan auto boss

TOKYO, May 27, 2014 (AFP) - There is little risk to investing in Thailand despite last week's military coup, the head of Japan's carmaking sector said Tuesday, as vehicle production returns to normal in the politically divided kingdom.

Full story: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/729557-little-risk-in-thailand-business-despite-coup-japan-auto-boss/

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SET index closed 1,392.73, up 4.44; Bt/USD32.48; GBP54.65; AUD29.95; EUR44.22; CAD29.83; HKD4.18; SGD25.75; JPY31.73

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RT @tulsathit: All of a sudden, Finance Ministry, long quiet over rice pledging scheme, has said it caused Bt500 billion loss.

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Thai university terms changed ahead of AEC

BANGKOK, 27 May 2014 (NNT) – The Association of University Presidents of Thailand has passed a resolution to adjust the terms of 27 universities starting in 2014 ahead of the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year. Meanwhile primary and secondary school terms are unchanged.


The new university terms are from August to December for the first term and January to May for the second term. Previously the terms were from June to October and November to May.

Meanwhile, primary and secondary schools and vocational schools still stay the same; the first term runs from May 16 to October 11 and November 1 to April 1 for the second term.

The Association sees the benefit of the change at university level being to facilitate academic personnel and students to take advantage of exchange programs among ASEAN countries, and other regions as well. In addition, grade 12 students will have more time to prepare to enroll in universities. The universities will utilize the gap before starting each new term to prepare students, for example, by improving their language skills.

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-- NNT 2014-05-27 footer_n.gif

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