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| 2 Mar 2015
Military government facing greater international opprobrium and domestic dissent than since immediate aftermath of May 2014 coup. Speaking to media during visit to Japan early Feb, PM Prayuth repeatedly mentioned govt’s intention to hold elections early 2016, but declined to rule out further coups, stating “Thailand is different from other countries. If something cannot be solved, the military will solve it”. U.S. State Dept expressed “significant concerns” about Prayuth’s statement. EU delegation 13 Feb issued statement expressing concern over continuing imposition of martial law and plans to expand military judicial authority over civilians. China continued expressions of support for junta, with President Xi’s special envoy and defence minister both visiting Prayuth during month, agreement to strengthen military ties. Tensions rising following retroactive impeachment of former PM Yingluck. Public prosecutor filed criminal charges against Yingluck 19 Feb; also faces civil suit for failure to curb alleged corruption in her govt’s rice-subsidy scheme. National Anti-Corruption Commission 24 Feb indicted 250 former lawmakers for their role passing amendment to 2007 constitution providing for fully elected senate; they face five-year ban from politics. Several protests by regime critics; four organisers of 14 Feb protest in Bangkok commemorating Feb 2014 general election detained and charged with violating a ban on political gatherings. Multiple bombing in Narathiwat town 20 Feb in which several people injured marked return to car bombings in urban areas by insurgents in southernmost provinces. Several Malay-Muslims shot dead in separate attacks in Yala and Narathiwat.
| 2 Feb 2015
Appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) 23 Jan voted to impeach former PM Yingluck Shinawatra for negligence in failing to curb corruption in her govt’s rice-pledging scheme. Yingluck appeared before NLA 9 Jan to deliver statement defending herself against impeachment bid; failed to attend second hearing 16 Jan. Office of attorney general 23 Jan announced filing of criminal negligence charge against Yingluck for alleged corruption. Assistant U.S. Sec State Daniel Russel visited 26 Jan, said impeachment “politically driven”, called for lifting of martial law. National Council for Peace and Order 13 Jan appointed Defence Minister and Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan head of new task force to enforce implementation of junta policies. Internal Security Operations Command reported violent incidents and casualties in south declined in fourth quarter of 2014. In ongoing insurgent attacks and clashes, school security guard shot dead in Cho Airong district, Narathiwat 2 Jan; two suspected militants killed in clash with rangers in Cho Airong 6 Jan; three insurgents killed in clash with security forces 9 Jan in Mayo district, Pattani; teacher injured in bomb attack 19 Jan in Narathiwat’s Bacho district.
| 5 Jan 2015
Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam 23 Dec said next general election will be held Feb 2016 at earliest. Seven police officers arrested late Nov on charges including bribery, money laundering, misconduct and lèse-majesté; senior officer arrested, Police Lt General Pongpat Chayaphan, accused of running criminal network, is uncle to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s third wife, Srirasmi. Investigation widened through Dec, over twenty people arrested, including several of Srirasmi’s relatives. Srirasmi resigned royal title 11 Dec, divorced 13 Dec. Appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) 28 Nov voted to open impeachment proceedings against former PM Yingluck Shinawatra for alleged negligence leading to losses from her govt’s rice-pledging scheme; proceedings to begin 9 Jan. Impeachment proceedings against former Senate and House speakers for role in helping pass amendment for fully elected senate scheduled to begin 8 Jan. NLA 18 Dec dropped bid to impeach 310 former lawmakers for misuse of power for supporting amnesty bill. PM Prayuth Chan-ocha 1 Dec visited Malaysia to discuss dialogue with Malay-Muslim insurgents; junta intends to restart dialogue in Jan with insurgent leaders in exile, Malaysia to act as facilitator. Several civilians and members of security forces killed/wounded in insurgent attacks and clashes during month.
| 1 Dec 2014
Possible impeachment of former House and Senate speakers and former PM Yingluck Shinawatra rekindled pre-coup political animosities. National Legislative Assembly (NLA) 7 Nov voted 87-75 in favour of impeachment motion against former speakers, as recommended by National Anti-Corruption Commission. No date set for proceedings against Yingluck. People’s Democratic Reform Council (PDRC) leaders 4 Nov promised to return to streets to demand impeachments, prompting threats by Red Shirts to stage counter-protests. PM Prayuth Chan-ocha warned against protests, threatened to invoke sweeping powers under interim constitution. Spate of small protests, acts of defiance signal growing restiveness as authorities banned public seminars on political issues. Ongoing arrests of senior police officers and associates for bribery, lèse-majesté began 23 Nov. At ASEAN Summit in Myanmar mid-Nov UNSG Ban and Japanese PM Abe urged Prayuth to restore civilian rule. In late Nov media interview Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said elections may not take place until 2016. Several killed in insurgent attacks in south during month. Security agencies authorised formation of new marine paramilitary regiment, provision of 2,700 assault rifles to interior ministry defence volunteers, approved budget of $234mn to improve security measures.
| 1 Nov 2014
Military junta continued to suppress dissent and move toward creating new constitution; membership of National Reform Council (NRC), responsible for proposing constitutional reform, announced 6 Oct, dominated by junta loyalists, opponents of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. NRC 27 Oct voted down proposal to allot five seats on 36-member constitution drafting committee to non-NRC members. Govt 1 Oct approved economic stimulus package worth 364bn baht; 16 Oct yielded to demands from rubber farmers after threats to defy martial law and organise rallies, agreed to 8.5bn in subsidies. Prayuth Chan-ocha 9-10 Oct made first foreign visit as PM to Myanmar, 16-17 Oct visited Milan for Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Southern insurgency continued: gunmen 2 Oct killed village headsman in Pattani; one police killed by IED in Nong Chik district 3 Oct, Muslim villager killed in Mayo district same day.
| 1 Oct 2014
National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) led by PM General Prayuth Chan-ocha continued to consolidate political control; appointed 12 serving and former military officers to new cabinet. NCPO 16 Sept added 9 members, only two without military or police background. Office of Attorney General (OAG) 4 Sept declined National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) recommendation to prosecute former PM Yingluck Shinawatra for corruption. Police 17 Sept detained four academics, three students at Thammasat University for staging seminar on dictatorship, released after questioning; 60 university professors from 16 universities 22 Sept submitted petition to govt calling for respect for academic freedom. Deadly attacks continued in south including: member of Tha Nam Tambon Administration Organisation killed by gunman in Ban Surao village 5 Sept; militants 17 Sept killed five in attack on local administration office in Khok Pho district, Pattani.
| 1 Sep 2014
Ruling military National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) continued consolidating power in wake of July interim constitution: 1 Aug Royal Decree finalised appointment of 200 National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members, more than half active or retired senior military officials. NLA opened 7 Aug; 21 Aug unanimously elected NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha PM; King Bhumibol Adulyadej 25 Aug endorsed appointment. Exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra 19 Aug urged supporters to allow NCPO to run country for 1 year. National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) 6 Aug recommended criminal prosecution of recently ousted PM Yingluck Shinawatra for alleged dereliction of duty; Yingluck 10 Aug returned to country despite speculation she would go into exile. Red shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasen 2-3 Aug posted videos claiming soldiers tortured her during her detention; NCPO refuted claims, 9 Aug issued arrest warrant for Kritsuda on weapons possession charges. Rights crackdown continued: 2 students participating in pro-democracy play charged with lèse-majesté mid-month; taxi driver sentenced to 2.5 years imprisonment on similar charge 14 Aug. Hundreds of anti-coup leaflets strewn in front of army HQ 15 Aug. Murder charges against former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and deputy, Suthep Thuagsuban, linked to 2010 protest crackdown, dismissed 28 Aug. Govt 8 Aug said it would continue stalled dialogue with southern insurgents. Attacks continued in south: 2 rangers killed in bombing 11 Aug in Yala province; 1 soldier killed, 3 wounded 21 Aug as militants ambushed truck in same province; ranger injured 14 Aug by IED on highway in Pattani province.
| 1 Aug 2014
Ruling junta National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) tightened grip on power. Interim charter adopted 22 July granted amnesty to coup makers and outlined 200-member national legislative assembly, 250-member national council, 35-member constitution drafting committee; Section 44 grants NCPO authority over interim govt. NCPO 15 July suspendedelections for all local administrative organisations. National Anti-Corruption Commission 17 July found former PM Yingluck Shinawatra negligent in administration of rice-pledging scheme, recommended prosecution; NCPO same day approved Yingluck’s request to travel abroad. NCPO 2 July established 5 panels to monitor local and international media for criticism of junta, authorised legal action against journalists and outlets for “inappropriate content”; 18 July reiterated ban on criticism in all forms of media. Red Sunday group leader Sombat Boongamanong, arrested 5 June, released 2 July on bail after lèse-majesté charge; Same Sky editor Thanapol Eawsakul 5 July detained second time since coup over Facebook posts, 9 July released after signing pledge to cease expressing political opinions. Multiple attacks in Southern provinces through July including: 13 July killing of Buddhist woman in Tak Bai District; 17 July fire fight in Pattani killed three militants, wounded four police; 20 July bombing near Rangae train station in Narathiwat; 25 July vehicle-borne IED attack in Betong, Yala, killed two, injured 42.
| 1 Jul 2014
Army spokesman 4 June said China, Vietnam and Myanmar gave support to National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) military govt; coup condemned by Australia, Canada, UK and U.S.; EU FMs 23 June condemned military rule, called for punitive measures, suspended official visits, delayed signing agreement on closer economic and political ties; U.S. suspended Thai junta from RIMPAC naval exercises which began 26 June. NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha 13 June said country will have new interim govt by Sept, followed by formation of constitution drafting assembly and general election if reconciliation achieved. Junta purged dozens of officials linked to deposed govt; 30 June announced overhaul of electoral system. Curfew lifted 14 June but military crackdown continued: police 8 June arrested 7 protesters at Bangkok shopping mall; 8 arrested 22 June for anti-coup activity, included 1 for reading George Orwell’s 1984 in public. Security forces continued suppression of Red Shirt supporters outside Bangkok: hundreds of radio stations closed, scores detained under martial law; several high-profile Red Shirt leaders publicly renounced political activity. Exiled chairman of deposed Pheu Thai Party, Jarupong Ruangsuwan, 24 June condemned NCPO and announced formation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FTHD) in first sign of organised resistance to coup. International Organisation for Migration (IOM) 19 June estimated 200,000 Cambodian workers returned home after rumours of coming Junta crackdown on illegal immigration. Southern insurgency continued: 2 army rangers killed 3 June in Pattani’s Sai Buri district; 2 rangers killed, 5 injured in ambush in Si Sakhon district.
| 1 Jun 2014
Army 22 May staged coup after months of political unrest, violence and large-scale demonstrations: suspended constitution; dismissed caretaker govt; arrested hundreds of politicians including former PM Yingluck, democracy activists and journalists. Several released under orders to remain in country, not oppose coup. Coup followed army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s announcement of nationwide martial law 20 May: military shut down broadcasts from partisan TV and radio stations, disbanded govt’s temporary security centre, instructed all protesters to remain peaceful. Prayuth 26 May said formally recognised as head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) by King, warned force will be used in case of renewed protests. Junta ordered military tribunal to try lèse majesté and national-security cases. Hundreds of anti-coup protesters rallied daily in Bangkok late month, in defiance of martial law but without serious violence. Prayuth 30 May said 15 months of “reform”, “reconciliation” needed before general elections. Ahead of army intervention, Constitutional Court 7 May removed caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra and 9 cabinet ministers for abuse of power; governing Pheu Thai Party called court ruling “judicial coup”. National Anti-Corruption Commission 8 May voted to impeach Yingluck. Widespread pro- and anti-govt protests early month: 3 killed, over 20 injured 15 May in grenade and shooting attack on anti-govt protesters in central Bangkok. Violence in south continued with several insurgent attacks including: 2 bombs detonated 6 May in Hat Yai city, 2 police and 6 civilians injured; coordinated attacks across Narathiwat and Yala provinces 11 May, 1 dead and 9 injured; 10 injured 28 May in bombing at Khok Pho Hospital, Pattani.
| 1 May 2014
Constitutional Court (CC) 2 April accepted petition to review PM Yingluck’s transfer of Thawil Pliensri from NSC chief in 2011, earlier ruled improper by Supreme Administrative Court; CC ruling against Yingluck would force Yingluck govt to step down. People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) Secretary General Suthep Thaugsuban 5 April in speech to supporters said once courts and independent agencies toppled caretaker govt, he would assume “sovereign powers”. PDRC protester shot dead 1 April while leaving rally site. Election for 77 non-appointed senate seats proceeded without incident 30 March; candidates aligned with Pheu Thai Party caretaker govt won 44 seats. 22 April meeting of Election Commission (EC) and political party representatives to discuss timing and other conditions for new general election inconclusive. Democrat Party (DP) leader Abhisit Vejjajiva 24 April announced plan to resolve political impasse; offered no details, but declared that elections are integral to reform, distancing from PDRC stance of “reform before election”. EC 30 April announced 20 July date for elections, agreed with caretaker govt; unclear if DP will take part. Formation of pro-govt Red Shirt militia Democracy Protection Volunteer Group and royalist Rubbish Collection Organisation, to pursue lèse-majesté violators, reflects trend toward vigilantism. Red-Shirt poet and lèse-majesté law critic Kamol Duangpasuk murdered 23 April. United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), main Red Shirt organisation, held rally large outside Bangkok 2-7 April; cancelled another rally planned 19-20 April. Several thousand Red Shirts gathered in NE province Nakorn Ratchasima, participated in basic martial arts training. Insurgent attacks and violence continued in southernmost provinces, including quadruple bombing in Yala town 6 April killing 1 and injuring at least 28; several killed in attacks in Yala province.
| 1 Apr 2014
Constitutional Court 21 March ruled 2 Feb general election invalid because it was not held in all constituencies on same day. PM’s Sec Gen 19 March said nullification would be acceptable if new elections, with Democrat Party (DP) participation, could be arranged quickly; DP stated prior to ruling it would not participate in immediate rerun, continues to demand reform before election. Following ruling, anti-govt protest marches resumed in Bangkok. DP, anti-govt activists continue to file petitions with courts and independent agencies, seeking removal of PM Yingluck and caretaker govt. Yingluck appeared before National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) 31 March to answer charges of dereliction of duty for failing to halt alleged corruption in govt’s rice-pledging scheme. Red-Shirt leaders mobilised several thousand supporters in NE early month, attempting to form volunteer “democracy-protection force” to confront any move to remove caretaker govt. Change in leadership of United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship mid-month also indicating more combative stance in preparation for widely anticipated ouster of govt. Banners urging formation of separate Lanna state in north displayed in Chiang Mai, Phayao provinces early March; army adopted hard line on alleged northern separatism. Political violence decreased following anti-govt People’s Democratic Reform Committee 28 Feb announcement of end to “shut down” Bangkok rallies, but regular night-time grenade and shooting attacks continued in Bangkok and upcountry. Insurgent attacks continued in southernmost provinces, with civilian and security-force casualties.
| 1 Mar 2014
Month saw wave of political violence in Bangkok and several provinces, with several killed, dozens injured during month, rhetoric growing more heated on both sides. General election took place with relatively little incident 2 Feb despite opposition Democratic Party (DP) boycott, with 47.72% turnout. Anti-govt protesters succeeded in stopping/disrupting polling in over 10% of polling stations, voting partially/completely cancelled in 18 provinces, preventing formation of govt; PM Yingluck’s caretaker govt and election commission at odds over when and how to complete election. People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and affiliated groups consolidated main protest sites early Feb, number of protesters dwindled. Deadly attacks on PDRC rallies and other political targets continued, including 6 injured in gunfight between protesters and pro-election Red Shirts in Lak Si district, Bangkok 1 Feb; 1 policeman, 4 protesters killed, 64 people injured in clashes after police attempted to disperse protesters in Bangkok 18 Feb; 30 injured, 3 killed in attack on PDRC rally in Trat 22 Feb; 3 killed, 21 injured in 23 Feb explosion at protest site in Bangkok. Around 20 grenades exploded near PDRC’s Lumpini Park stage 25 Feb, at least 2 injured. 2 grenades fired at Centre for Maintenance of Peace and Order 26 Feb, no injuries. Yingluck’s caretaker govt under increasing pressure from courts, independent watchdog agencies. Constitutional Court 12 Feb dismissed petition by DP to annul 2 Feb poll; same day rejected request by Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party to charge PDRC with violating constitution. Bangkok Court 19 Feb stripped govt of authority under Emergency Decree to use force against protesters. National Anti-Corruption Commission 18 Feb resolved to charge Yingluck with malfeasance, abuse of power in connection with rice-pledging scheme; Yingluck sent legal team to hear charges. Army 26 Feb set up 176 positions near protest sites and some govt agencies in Bangkok. PDRC 28 Feb announced end to “shutdown Bangkok” rallies, plan to open 4 major intersections and consolidate protests at Lumpini Park from 3 March. Amid deteriorating situation in Bangkok militants in southernmost provinces stepping up attacks; 3 Feb murder of 3 young Muslim brothers in Narathiwat Province, which locals blamed on state-supported vigilantes, sparked series of reprisal killings of civilians by militants.
| 1 Feb 2014
Political turmoil intensified as People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) 13 Jan began series of protests aiming to “shut down Bangkok”, stepping up efforts to overthrow PM Yingluck’s caretaker govt and force cancellation of 2 Feb general election; further violence anticipated on election day. Protest-related violence increased, including 1 killed, 35 injured in grenade attack on PDRC march 17 Jan; dozens injured by 2 grenades at PDRC’s Victory Monument protest site 19 Jan. Govt imposed state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces beginning 22 Jan. Amid deteriorating security, pressure growing on govt to delay poll, including repeated calls from Election Commission. Constitutional Court 24 Jan ruled govt could postpone poll; govt 28 Jan said election will take place as scheduled. Anti-govt protesters 26 Jan turned out at polling stations to prevent people from advance voting; protest leader and former New Politics Party politician Suthin Tharatinwas shot dead outside polling station in SE Bangkok. United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (main Red Shirt organisation) 26 Jan said Red Shirts will enter Bangkok within hours if election is postponed. Ongoing violence in southernmost provinces included: 1 ranger killed, 5 injured in 2 bomb attacks in Narathiwat Province 21 Jan; Buddhist monk, ranger and civilian killed in 2 separate attacks in Pattani province 24 Jan; IED blast killed 2 police and injured 3 in Than To District, Yala same day.
| 2 Jan 2014
Political crisis escalated with major protest movement demanding Yingluck govt step down and allow appointed council to reform electoral system, threatening to block general election scheduled for 2 Feb and seize Bangkok. People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by former Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsbhan, continued anti-govt protests, staged massive marches 9, 22 Dec. Criminal Court 2 Dec charged Suthep with sedition. Protesters 2 Dec attempted to breach police barricades at Govt House and Metropolitan Police HQ. Opposition Democrat Party MPs resigned en masse 8 Dec. PM Yingluck dissolved House 9 Dec, general election scheduled for 2 Feb. PDRC seeking to oust Yingluck’s caretaker govt, derail election, “eradicate Thaksin regime”; calling for establishment of 400-member People’s Council to implement political reform. Democrat Party 21 Dec announced election boycott, support for PDRC protests. Protesters blocked Bangkok candidate registration site 23-24 Dec, attacked police 26 Dec; 1 policeman, 1 protester shot dead, many injured. Election Commission 26 Dec called for delay of poll. Army chief 27 Dec refused to rule out coup. Suthep threatened to shut down Bangkok starting 13 Jan. Protester killed in shooting at protest site 28 Dec. Militants stepped up attacks in Deep South, including 5 soldiers killed in IED attack in Kapho District, Pattani Province 11 Dec. Coordinated bombings 22 Dec targeted 3 towns in Songhkla’s Sadao District injured at least 27; first attack in district. Police 22 Dec found two 50kg IEDs inside truck parked at police station on tourist island Phuket.
| 1 Dec 2013
Bangkok saw largest protests since 2010 with anti-govt protesters occupying ministries and govt buildings late month in bid to oust elected Pheu Thai Party (PTP)-led govt of PM Yingluck Shinawatra. Lower House 1 Nov passed a blanket amnesty bill that would allow exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to return and absolve opposition Democrat Party leaders for role in 2010 crackdown-related deaths. Bill sparked wave of protests, led by Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, swelling into movement to eradicate “Thaksin regime”. Senate 11 Nov rejected amnesty bill. Suthep and 8 other Democrat MPs announced resignation in order to lead protests. Constitutional Court 20 Nov ruled Sept amendment to establish all-elected Senate unconstitutional, dismissed petition to dissolve PTP. Anti-govt rallies reignited 23 Nov. Under banner of Civil Movement for Democracy (CMD), protesters 25 Nov occupied foreign and finance ministries. Cabinet 25 Nov invoked Internal Security Act in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, court issued arrest warrant for Suthep. CDM protesters 26-27 Nov surrounded other ministries and govt buildings, 29 Nov stormed army HQ, 1 Dec attempted to breach security barriers at Govt House; police responded with tear gas. At least 2 killed, dozens injured in protest-related violence 30 Nov. Thousands of Red Shirts gathered in Bangkok stadium in support of govt. PM Yingluck 28 Nov survived vote of no confidence 297-134, said no early election. ICJ 11 Nov affirmed Preah Vihear Temple complex situated in Cambodian territory, boundary to be determined bilaterally; ruling failed to galvanise public against govt. National Security Council chief Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabutr 27 Nov said next round of dialogue between govt and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) early Dec, postponed due to political turmoil. Deep South Watch reported 32 deaths, 72 wounded in 118 incidents in Oct in main conflict areas, mostly due to bombings. Gunmen shot dead village headman in Narathiwat’s Muang District 7 Nov. Motorcycle bomb exploded in Rangae 7 Nov, killing 2 soldiers, wounding 6 others. Bomb injured 4 police, 8 civilians in Waeng District, Narathiwat, 13 Nov. IED attack wounded 3 rangers in Mae Kaen District, Pattani 14 Nov. Gunmen killed off-duty ranger in Muang District, Pattani, 19 Nov.
| 1 Nov 2013
National Security Council (NSC) 10 Oct postponed indefinitely 4th round of flagging peace dialogue with Barsan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), originally scheduled for 20 Oct. Army chief Gen Prayudh Chan-ocha said splits within militant movement on whether to participate contributed to decision to postpone. NSC said more time needed to study BRN demands. Officials insist process will continue. Sources report next plenary meeting expected before end-Nov. Violence in southernmost provinces included 4 soldiers killed in IED attack targeting teacher-escort patrol in Krong Pinang District, Yala 3 Oct. 2 rangers killed in IED attack in Rangae District, Narathiwat, 11 Oct. Insurgents 9 Oct detonated 27 small IEDs at banks and shops in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla provinces, 3 injured; army ranger killed, 4 wounded in IED attack in Cho Airong District, Narathiwat Province same day; teacher executed in Saiburi District, Pattani. 3 killed in gun battle between security forces and suspected militants in Thung Yang Daeng District, Pattani, 15 Oct. Constitutional Court twice decided in favour of govt-backed legislation, dismissing petitions against draft constitutional amendment for all-elected senate and 2014 budget bill. Cabinet 9 Oct approved imposition of Internal Security Act (ISA) for 3 Bangkok districts in response to protest by People’s Democratic Force To Overthrow Thaksin. Larger protests anticipated following 18 Oct revision by governing Pheu Thai Party of draft bill to provide amnesty for offences related to political unrest since 2006, in apparent bid to allow exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to return without serving 2-year sentence for abuse of power. Revised bill angered Thaksin opponents plus some pro-Thaksin Red Shirts, as it would absolve former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and deputy of causing deaths by ordering 2010 crackdown on anti-govt protesters.
| 1 Oct 2013
Senior officials continue to voice support for talks with rebel Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) despite stalling of dialogue process following failed Ramadan Peace Initiative; said 4th round of talks will take place mid-Oct. BRN submitted formal demands to Thai authorities early Sept via dialogue facilitator Malaysia. 2 separate factions of Patani United Liberation Organisation (PULO) and Barisan Islam Pembebasan Patani (Islamic Liberation Front of Pattani, BIPP) reportedly conveyed to BRN desire to join process. Cabinet 18 Sept approved extension of emergency decree in 3 southernmost provinces for 3 months; 33rd extension since decree invoked in 2005. Insurgent attacks included 11 Sept ambush in Thung Yang Daeng District, Pattani Province, killing 5 police; bomb planted by school in Yala’s Muang District 10 Sept killed 2 soldiers; gunmen killed 3 rangers in 12 Sept attack in Yarang District, Pattani. Attacks reflect insurgency’s shift to focus on security forces in recent months. Opposition lawmakers repeatedly disrupted proceedings in parliament in vain effort to derail consideration of Pheu Thai Party (PTP)-sponsored draft charter amendment bill to restore all-elected senate. PM Yingluck launched political reform forum 25 Aug, aimed at promoting prospects for reconciliation; Democrat Party members and People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) boycotted meeting. Continued protests by rubber farmers in mid-South demanding higher govt subsidies since late August.
| 1 Sep 2013
Future of peace dialogue process between Barisan Revolsui Nasional (BRN) and govt uncertain after BRN 6 Aug issued video announcing suspension of its participation because Bangkok had not responded to its demands. Govt officials repeatedly stated intention to continue dialogue, though senior military officers oppose BRN’s demands. Violence intensified 1 Aug with 12 arson attacks across Pattani, Songkhla and Yala provinces, while separate bombings killed ranger in Yala Province and injured another in Narathiwat. On 2 Aug, eight soldiers injured, 2 severely, by a bomb explosion in Yala’s Raman District 2 Aug. Another soldier killed in IED attack in Yala same day. Bomb attack in Tak Bai, Narathiwat, injured 4 soldiers 3 Aug. 4 gunmen killed imam at Pattani Central Mosque, supporter of peace dialogue, 5 Aug. IED attacks spiked to 35 between 31 July-7 Aug; monthly average was 24 for first half 2013. In spite of continuing violence during ceasefire period, Internal Security Operations Command reported this year’s Ramadan saw lowest number of casualties for holy month since 2007, with 23 people killed in the 3 southernmost provinces 10 July-18 Aug. Video clip posted online 28 July purportedly al-Qaeda death threat against former PM Thaksin for 2004 Tak Bai massacre; National Security Council chief dismissed video as stunt by Thaksin’s political opponents. Early Aug anti-govt rallies aimed at derailing Parliament’s consideration of amnesty bill fell flat; bill, introduced by governing Pheu Thai Party to provide amnesty for crimes associated with political turmoil since 2006, passed first reading 7 Aug; opposition Democrat Party has vowed to contest legislation in parliament, petition Constitutional Court and keep up pressure on streets. Bangkok court concluded that army troops killed 6 people at Pathum Wanaram temple May 2010 following “Red Shirt” protest.
| 1 Aug 2013
National Security Council (NSC) and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) 12 July announced “common understanding” to curb violence for period of 40 days, including Ramadan, 10 July-18 Aug; BRN agreed to make effort to halt bombings and armed attacks on govt/civilian targets, govt agreed to “refrain from any aggressive actions”. Bombings and military operations continued in southernmost provinces, amid accusations of agreement violations. Bomb attack in Raman District, Yala, wounded 8 soldiers 11 July. IED attack on armoured vehicle in Cho Airong District, Narathiwat, wounded 2 rangers 17 July. Former Malay Muslim village headman and wife murdered in Yaring District, Pattani, 19 July. Security forces killed insurgent suspect in Cho Airong District 19 July, prompting BRN to file protest with dialogue facilitator Malaysia. Gunmen shot and killed several Malay Muslims, including 2 Islamic-school teachers in Bannang Satar and Muang Districts, Yala 15 July, and local-level officials in Muang and Yaring Districts, Pattani, 19 July. Peace-dialogue sceptics Chalerm Yubamrung (Deputy PM) and Sukampol Suwanathat (Defence Minister) removed or demoted in 30 June cabinet reshuffle; PM Yingluck Shinawatra took defence portfolio. Cabinet 1 July reversed its 19 June decision to lower guaranteed prices paid to rice farmers. Anti-govt groups continued to stage small demonstrations. Protesters rallied in front of Army HQ in Bangkok 10 July calling for coup to oust “parliamentary dictatorship”; army chief scolded group for demanding military intervention. NSC dismissed purported al-Qaeda video posted online 27 July, which threatened assassination of exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, as work of Thaksin’s domestic political opponents.
| 1 Jul 2013
Thailand Cabinet 10 June approved extension of emergency decree in southernmost provinces for another 90 days, and extension of Internal Security Act in several districts of Songkhla province and Mae Lan district of Pattani for another year. 3rd round of dialogue between National Security Council and militants led by Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) took place 13 June in Malaysia: the 2 sides pledged to reduce violence during Ramadan 9 July-7 Aug. BRN announced they would draft terms for ceasefire by 25 June, reiterated earlier demands: that Malaysia be elevated to mediator; unconditional release of prisoners and lifting of arrest warrants for suspects in security cases; recognition of BRN as liberation movement; and participation of ASEAN members, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other NGOs to observe talks. BRN 25 June released 4th in series of videos, announcing ceasefire contingent on 7 sweeping demands, including withdrawal of Thai security forces from region. Further talks in jeopardy after several high-ranking officials rejected new demands. Deadly violence continued in deep south, civilians and security forces killed in number of attacks, including 8 soldiers killed by bomb in Yala province 29 June. Anti-govt demonstrations gaining momentum in Bangkok and other urban areas, opposed to constitutional reform and “parliamentary dictatorship”. Govt braced for farmer protests after announcing reduction in rice subsidy scheme.
| 1 Jun 2013
Violence continued in deep South: gunmen 1 May shot dead 6 people in Pattani shop including 2-year-old child; leaflets found in Yala’s Muang district claimed attack was revenge for deaths of 4 rebels killed by security officers, also claimed insurgents would kill people, including women and children, to pressure govt to accept Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) demands in fledgling dialogue process; some indications that vigilantes or rogue security forces may have carried out attack. 5kg bomb in Asia Hotel in Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat 18 May injured 6. National political tensions rising as opponents of PM Yingluck denounced her 29 April speech at 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, which criticised democratic backsliding in wake of 2006 coup. Uptick in street protests by rival political camps, including tens of thousands of red shirts protesting in Bangkok 19 May, protracted yellow shirt rally at Sanam Luang starting 5 May. 26 May bomb blast in Ramkhamhaeng, Bangkok injured 7; authorities discount connection to southern insurgency.
| 1 May 2013
Constitutional Court 3 April accepted petition to rule on legality of bills to amend 2007 Constitution, but declined to issue injunction to halt deliberation of bills in National Assembly. Hearings at ICJ to interpret 1962 judgment concerning disputed territory around Preah Vihear Temple ended 17 April; judge requested Thailand and Cambodia submit written arguments defining “vicinity” of temple. Insurgents stepped up attacks in southernmost provinces following first meeting of dialogue process between Bangkok and insurgent representatives 28 March. 22 officials killed 28 Feb-22 April. Yala deputy governor Issara Thongthawat and one other official killed by IED in Than To District 5 April, highest-ranking official killed in conflict. Hassan Taib and Abdul Karim Khalib of Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) released video 27 April issuing 5 demands as conditions for dialogue, including dropping all charges against suspected insurgents, stated armed struggle will continue. In 29 April talks in Malaysia, BRN pressed demands while Bangkok gave BRN one month to curb attacks.
| 1 Apr 2013
Insurgent violence in deep South continued following 28 Feb announcement of consensus agreement on formal dialogue between govt and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). First dialogue meeting 28 March in Kuala Lumpur resulted in agreement on terms of reference. National Security Council chief Police Lt-General Paradorn Pattanathabutr 11 March reportedly said establishment of special administrative zone in region may be necessary for peace, provoking criticism from army, opposition; Paradorn later disavowed comment. 3 people killed 10 March in separate shooting attacks on Pattani; 4 police killed 15 March by IED in Reuso, Narathiwat Province. 3 rangers killed, 5 wounded by IED in Cho Airong, Narathiwat, 28 March as talks began in Malaysia. National Anti-Corruption Commission revealed it is investigating alleged financial misconduct by PM Yingluck. Group of 42 red-shirt-aligned Pheu Thai Party MPs submitted bill seeking amnesty for those jailed for 2010 political demonstrations.
| 1 Mar 2013
Govt 28 Feb announced agreement with representatives of Southern Muslim rebel group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), brokered by Malaysia, to start a dialogue process. Several deadly militant attacks on civilians in south early-month: 5 soldiers died in militant attack on truck in Yala province 10 Feb with 50kg bomb; several other shooting incidents in Yala and Pattani province same day, 2 killed. 50-80 militants 13 Feb launched assault on marine base in Bacho District, Narathiwat; military, with prior warning of attack, killed 16 militants, including several men detained by security forces in 2004 Tak Bai incident. Militants retaliated 16-17 Feb with some 50 explosive devices around Pattani town, including device near clock tower that killed 3; security forces defused dozens of small devices. Govt 18 Feb announced it had decided to replace emergency decree with Internal Security Act in some districts. In Bangkok, several hundred Red Shirt protesters rallied 29 Jan demanding PTP govt grant amnesty to political prisoners jailed for lèse-majesté and terrorism charges stemming from April-May 2010 protests. Further divisions in Red Shirt movement as Kwanchai Praipana, chief of Khon Rak Udon, 13 Feb said his group would no longer respond to United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship leader Thida Thawornseth’s orders. Thai-Cambodian Regional Border Committee concluded meeting in Bangkok 15 Feb, agreed on mechanisms to resolve conflicts on border.
| 1 Feb 2013
Group of red shirt leaders and Pheu Thai Party MPs 10 Jan asked Constitutional Court to clarify its July 2012 ruling on necessity to hold referendum prior to amending constitution; Constitutional Court president declined to clarify ruling. Several people killed in insurgent attacks in Pattani and Narathiwat provinces in south. Court 17 Jan sentenced red shirt activist and adviser to deputy commerce minister Yotwarit Chuklom to 2 years’ prison for lèse-majesté. Some 2,000 Thai Patriots Network members and People’s Alliance for Democracy supporters rallied in Bangkok 21 Jan to submit petition calling on govt to reject ICJ jurisdiction on Preah Vihear temple dispute with Cambodia. Court 23 Jan sentenced editor Somyot Preuksakasemsuk to 11 years’ prison for publishing 2 articles deemed offensive to monarchy.
| 30 Dec 2012
Violence in South intensifying with series of attacks on civilians: in Narathiwat teacher killed 3 Dec, another injured 4 Dec; teachers closed province schools in protest 6-7 Dec. 4 killed, 5 injured 11 Dec in drive-by shooting in Rangae district; many locals reportedly believe attack to be Buddhist retaliation for attacks on teachers. In Cho Airong district suspected insurgents injured 6 paramilitary rangers 14 Dec, killed 2 civil servants 17 Dec. In Pattani, teacher and school director shot dead 11 Dec in Mayo district; 2 killed 3 Dec in Khok Po, Sai Buri districts. Authorities closed all state-run schools in South 12-17 Dec. Unidentified sniper 19 Dec shot dead police in Yala. PM Yingluck visited region 13 Dec. Cabinet 11 Dec voted to resume process to amend 2007 constitution. Coalition parties 14 Dec agreed to hold referendum on charter reform early 2013. Department of Special Investigations early Dec charged former PM Abhisit and former deputy PM Suthep with authorising murder of taxi driver during 2010 red shirt protests; Abhisit and Suthep dismissed charge.
| 1 Dec 2012
Pitak Siam (Protect Siam) Group, led by retired Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, held second anti-govt rally 24 Nov. Govt deployed 20,000 security forces, imposed Internal Security Act (ISA) in 3 Bangkok districts; 82 injured in clashes between protesters and police. Boonlert called off 2nd day of protests, announced end of his involvement in Pitak Siam. Govt no-confidence debate took place 25-27 Nov; PM Yingluck Shinawatra and 3 other ministers survived no-confidence vote 28 Nov. During 18 Nov visit, U.S. president Obama praised country’s democratic development. U.S. Sec Defence Panetta signed defence cooperation agreement with Thai counterpart in Bangkok 15 Nov. Violence in south continued. In Narathiwat 3 people killed, dozens injured in attack on train 18 Nov in Ruesoh district; 2 vehicle bombs exploded 3 Nov in Ruesoh district, 3 killed; 5 killed in series of shootings. In Pattani former sub-district chief killed 3 Nov in Mayo district; several people killed in series of shootings. Teachers late Nov shut down over 300 schools to protest against killing of education workers by militants. Bomb explosion 22 Nov injured 2 soldiers in Khok Po district. In Yala province imam shot dead 14 Nov in Yaha district; 1 killed after bomb exploded 17 Nov in Muang district; 3 soldiers injured after militants attacked military base in Bannang Sata district. 1 militant killed 4 Nov in clash with security forces in Songkhla. Govt 30 Nov extended enforcement of ISA by a year in several districts of Songkhla and Pattani.
| 1 Nov 2012
Violence in south intensified. In Pattani, several attacks purportedly in retaliation for late Sept killing of Muslim couple included shootings on 6, 8, 9 Oct; 15 dead, 4 injured. 16 injured in grenade attack 27 Oct; 5 police injured by bomb explosion 30 Oct. Many shops refused to open Fridays in response to insurgent threats. In Narathiwat, 3 bombs exploded in Tak Bai 20 Oct, and insurgents fired on police station and detachment of troops; 1 killed, 8 injured. 21 Oct bomb blasts injured 8 soldiers, killed 1. In Yala, 3 injured in bomb blast 6 Oct; 9 insurgents surrendered to authorities 2 Oct. New Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan elected leader of ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) after Deputy PM Yongyut Wichaidit resigned late Sept. King Bhumibol Adulyadej 28 Oct endorsed cabinet reshuffle, strengthening PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s position in advance of anticipated censure motion. 10,000 supporters of pro-monarchy Pitak Siam (Protect Siam) group demonstrated against govt 28 Oct, promised further rallies.
| 1 Oct 2012
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay urged govt to act on recommendations from 17 Sept Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand report on 2010 political violence; report called for restraint in application of lèse-majesté law, public discussions on constitutional reform. Govt 11 Sept extended emergency law in Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat provinces until 19 Dec; PM Yingluck 18 Sept chaired meeting on southern insurgency. In Pattani 6 people killed, more than 40 injured in car bomb explosion 21 Sept. In Narathiwat, authorities 4 Sept seized land, Islamic school in Muang district over alleged use for insurgency; 93 separatist rebels agreed to surrender at 11 Sept meeting with 4th Army Region commander Lt Gen Udomchai Thammasarorat. In Yala 15 Sept ambush in Muang district killed 4, including 3 paramilitary rangers; 2 civilians killed 17 Sept in Raman district. Yellow-shirt and red-shirt supporters clashed in Bangkok 25 Sept after police summoned for questioning a teacher who publicly accused key red-shirt supporter Darunee Kritbunyalai of lèse-majesté.
| 1 Sep 2012
Militant violence across south continued. Attacks during Aug injured 22, killed 4, in several Pattani districts. In Narathiwat, attacks 14, 21, 29 Aug killed 4, injured 5 in Sungai Padi, Rangae, Cho Airong districts. Shootings during Aug killed 4, injured 3 in several Yala districts; police 24 Aug killed 2 militants. 102 separatist incidents struck Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla provinces 31 Aug. Military 9 Aug deployed air force to support anti-insurgency ground operations; DPM General (ret) Yuthasak 25 Aug announced deployment of 1,500 additional border-patrol police. Govt mid-month revealed peace talks with Muslim insurgents in south following policy reversal. Democrat Party 15 Aug petitioned govt to recognise ICC jurisdiction to enable inquiry into bloodshed during war on drugs, 18 Aug said would write to U.S. Congress regarding former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s alleged role in 2010 protest violence.
| 1 Aug 2012
Constitutional Court 13 July dismissed opposition case alleging govt’s proposal to redraft constitution an attempt to overthrow monarchy. Red shirt demonstrators in Chiang Mai 20 July stoned opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva’s car. In compliance with 2011 ICJ ruling, Thailand, Cambodia 18 July withdrew troops from disputed Preah Vihear temple, soldiers replaced with police. King Bhumibol Adulyadej 9 July pardoned U.S. citizen jailed in Dec 2011 for 2.5 years for lese majesté; yellow shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul 10 July appeared in court on lese majesté charges for quoting red shirt speech in 2008; trial commenced 17 July of man arrested March 2011 for selling copies of documentary questioning future of monarchy. PM Yingluck Shinawatra 31 July met with security agencies to address escalating militant violence across south: in Yala attacks throughout month killed 5 soldiers, 3 village officials in Raman, Yaha districts; police 11 July killed 1 militant in Muang district; 2 villagers killed 26 July in Bannang Satar district. In Narathiwat: 5 security officers, 2 villagers, 2 militants killed in violence throughout month in Joh I Rong, Rangae, Rueso, Sungai Kolok, Cho Airong districts. In Pattani: 1 defence volunteer shot dead 19 July in Khok Pho district; 4 soldiers killed 28 July in Mayo district.
| 1 Jul 2012
Activists 1 June blockaded parliament in ongoing protest over reconciliation Bills; debate over legislation later suspended. In widely criticised decision, Constitutional Court 1 June accepted petition to review constitutional amendments, petition claimed amendments did not sufficiently safeguard role of monarchy; Parliament acceded to Court injunction. Govt 19 June extended emergency law in southern provinces for further 3 months as violence continued; gunmen 6 June killed 2 defence volunteers, wounded 6 in Narathiwat; IED 7 June wounded 1 soldier in Yala; insurgents 10 June attacked police checkpoint in Pattani wounding 2 police, 4 civilians; IED attack 13 June wounded 2 Rangers, 2 defence volunteers in Chanae District; 3 soldiers killed, 6 wounded 16 June in suspected Muslim separatist attack in Yala; 2 govt officials 19 June shot dead in Narathiwat; 1 soldier, 1 villager wounded 21 June in Narathiwat bombing.
| 1 Jun 2012
Scuffles in parliament, “yellow shirt” protests followed 29 May introduction of reconciliation bills, which include amnesty for former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. Large-scale peaceful rallies 19 May marked 2nd anniversary of 2010 deadly protests; Department of Special Investigations 17 May said “state authorities” responsible for at least 25 deaths during 2010 crackdown; first of 18 inquests into state involvement in deaths began 21 May. 8 May death of man jailed Nov 2011 for 20 years for insulting king in text messages, 30 May conviction of news website manager for lese majesté resulted in “red shirt” protests, petitions to govt for law reform. 5-year ban given in 2007 to 111 politicians from Thai Rak Thai Party expired 30 May, several expected to be appointed to cabinet in upcoming reshuffle. Constitutional Court 18 May declared July 2011 election of “red shirt” leader Jatuporn Prompan invalid, stripped him of parliamentary seat. Deputy PM Yuthasak Sasiprapa 15 May announced initiative to better integrate govt agencies’ efforts to address southern violence; Organisation of the Islamic Conference delegation visited 7-13 May to assess situation in south, noted improved situation, encouraged dialogue; attacks continued in Pattani including 1 May bombing of military convoy killing 3, 3 May attack killing 4 local officials, 13 May insurgent ambush injuring 16 paramilitary rangers, 28 May bombing killing 3 civil defence volunteers.
| 1 May 2012
Month saw deadly series of attacks in southern provinces blamed on militant separatists. In response to 31 March Yala bombings, govt 3 April pledged new safety zones, checkpoints for Songkhla, Yala provinces; victims to receive compensation; 3 bombing suspects arrested 4-5 April, believed to be members of extremist separatist group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) Coordinate. PM Yingluck Shinawatra reiterated policy of no negotiation with southern militants, announced new committee to handle southern security issues. Thailand, Cambodia pledged to remove land mines at disputed Preah Vihear temple during 3-5 April summit, but agreed troops would remain. Ruling party Pheu Thai 20 April announced public hearings for reconciliation, amnesty plans, contrary to previous unilateral approach; change may affect former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s plans to return to Thailand. Govt and opposition MPs, including opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, 20 April cleared of constitutional violations, corruption relating to 2011 floods.
| 1 Apr 2012
Escalation in southern insurgency with series of 4 car, motorcycle bombings 31 March: 14 killed, 340 injured in Yala, Hat Yai and Mae Lan; militant separatists suspected. Roadside bombings 7, 21 March killed 5 soldiers, injured 2 soldiers and 1 civilian in Narathiwat province; 2 soldiers killed, 12 wounded 9 March when approx 50 gunmen attacked Special Forces military base in Narathiwat. Militants 9 March attacked Yala province military checkpoint, killed 2 soldiers. Trial of Lebanese terrorist suspect arrested 12 Jan began mid-March. Prosecutor 12 March announced inquests into 16 deaths during govt crackdown on 2012 anti-govt “Red Shirt” demonstrations. Courts of Justice 25 March denied discussing bail release for jailed “Red Shirts” following claim by former PM Shinawatra.
| 1 Mar 2012
PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party 9 Feb submitted controversial plan to rewrite 2006 post-coup constitution, provoking fears of renewed turmoil. Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission agreed to restart border demarcation and map making during 13-14 Feb meeting in Bogor, Indonesia; controversial Preah Vihear demarcation delayed. 4 Iranian suspects detained after accidental 14 Feb explosion; same day, Iranian documents found on man injured after hurling grenade at police and cab (see Israel). Political activist Surachai Danwattananusorn sentenced 28 Feb to 7.5 years prison for 2010 defamatory red-shirt rally speeches.
| 1 Feb 2012
Govt early-Jan began re-drafting 2007 constitution; debate on Constitution Drafting Committee selection ongoing. Key “Red Shirt” leader Natthawut Saikua appointed deputy agricultural minister 18 Jan in cabinet reshuffle; 1st UDD leader to receive ministerial post in Yingluck govt. Govt 10 Jan approved over $60mn compensation for victims of 2006-2010 political violence. U.S. 13 Jan issued terrorist threat alert for Bangkok tourist areas, prompting other embassies to issue similar warning. Police 13 Jan arrested Lebanese-born Swedish citizen, suspected of links to Hizbollah; 16 Jan found bomb-making materials during raid in Bangkok. Violent insurgency continued in South; explosion 3 Jan killed 2 soldiers attending New Year’s ceremony; suspected insurgents 6 Jan opened fire at defence volunteers outpost, Narathiwat province, killing 2. 4 suspected insurgents killed 30 Jan in gunfight with troops in Pattani province.
| 2 Jan 2012
Thai and Cambodian military authorities 21 Dec held 8th meeting of Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee in Phnom Penh, agreed to comply with ICJ’s July order to withdraw troops from provisional demilitarised zone near Preah Vihear temple under supervision of Indonesian observers; still no date for deployment of observers. Severe criticism from civil society groups, international community following harsh sentences for 3 people convicted of lese majeste; OHCHR urged authorities to amend laws. Govt 16 Dec returned ousted PM Thaksin’s passport, prompting opposition to seek impeachment of PM and FM. Deputy PM reiterated govt to push forward amnesty law for Thaksin. Fugitive Red Shirt leader Arisman Pongruengrong returned to Thailand 6 Dec to face terrorism charges. In Bangkok police defused 1 bomb 6 Dec, 6 bombs 16 Dec, arrested 1 suspect. Supreme Court 2 Dec sentenced Da-oh Thanam, ex-leader of southern separatist group PULO, 3 other PULO members to life imprisonment. Leader of small Prachatham party shot dead 15 Dec in Narathiwat.
| 1 Dec 2011
Death toll from recent flooding reached 666 people; cabinet 8 Nov approved 2 committees for post-flood recovery. Cabinet 15 Nov held secret discussion on draft royal decree to give pardons for some prisoners for King’s birthday; move seen to benefit former PM Thaksin, sentenced in absentia to 2 years prison for corruption; Justice Minister 20 Nov denied possibility of pardon for exiled leader. Implementation of ICJ’s July order for Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw troops from disputed border area delayed by flooding and legal debate over need for parliamentary approval. In south, suspected insurgents in uniform 17 Nov opened fire at military-escorted convoy of govt school teachers in Ruesoh district, Narathiwat, injuring 4. 21 Nov bomb in Pattani’s Muang district injured 9 people.
| 1 Nov 2011
Country hit by worst floods in living memory; almost 400 people reported dead, some 2mn in 27 provinces affected. Floods surrounding Bangkok, already partially submerged. Govt restructured state operation to tackle violence in South, granting more power to military at expense of civilian-led Southern Border Administrative Center. Violence in South continued: series of bomb attacks in 24 places in Yala 25 Oct killed 4, injured 49; attacks apparently meant to mark 7th anniversary of Tak Bai incident that saw 85 Malay Muslims killed by security forces. 4 injured in 3 bomb attacks 31 Oct in Yala, Narathiwat.
| 1 Oct 2011
Deputy PM Chalerm 8 Sept said Pheu Thai Party would seek to clear name of ousted PM Thaksin, sentenced in absentia to 2 years in prison for conflict of interest charges; speculation mounted that Thaksin might be granted royal pardon. PM Yingluck 5 Sept visited Cambodia, discussed long-standing dispute over Preah Vihear temple for first time since election of new govt, stated Thailand would comply with ICJ order to withdraw troops from designated “provisional demilitarised zone”, welcomed Indonesian observers. Yingluck’s brother Thaksin arrived in Cambodia 2 days later to attend conference, met with Red Shirt leaders. In insurgency-ravaged South, 6 killed, over 100 injured in series of bomb explosions 16 Sept in Sungai Golok border district in Narathiwat; security forces believe attack response to suppression of drug smuggling. 4 soldiers escorting govt teachers shot dead 28 Sept in ambush in Narathiwat. Amnesty International accused southern insurgents of targeting civilians, committing war crimes.
| 1 Sep 2011
Parliament 5 Aug voted to elect Yingluck Shinawatra as new PM; King gave royal endorsement 8 Aug. Pheu Thai party to lead 6-party ruling coalition; Yingluck pledged to work for “unity and reconciliation”. Opposition Democrat Party 6 Aug re-elected ex-PM Abhisit as leader. Cambodia PM Hun Sen 5 Aug congratulated Yingluck, urged discussion on troop withdrawal from provisional demilitarised zone around disputed Preah Vihear temple. Opposition filed police complaint and threatened to impeach FM after Japan 15 Aug granted visa to exiled ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra. In south, suspected Islamic militants 3 Aug shot dead Buddhist teacher; 4 Aug killed 4 people, including Muslim teacher, in Pattani; 26 Aug killed 6 in Narathiwat bomb attack. Following joint visit to southern provinces with Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapha, army chief Gen Prayuth 18 Aug said military not completely opposed to govt plan to turn 3 southern-most provinces into special administrative zone, but would inform govt about unanticipated consequences.
| 1 Aug 2011
Pheu Thai (PT) party, supported by ousted ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, won outright majority in 3 July national election (265 of 500 seats); will form coalition govt with 4 minor parties. PM-elect Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s younger sister, said would not seek amnesty for a particular person after being accused of planning to grant amnesty for Thaksin, living in self-imposed exile; said would refer issue to Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand appointed by current Democrat Party (DP) govt. DP 8 July asked Election Commission (EC) to ban PT over alleged involvement of banned PT politicians in election campaign. ICJ 18 July ordered Thai, Cambodian troops withdraw from “provisional demilitarised zone” ICJ created around disputed Preah Vihear temple. Outgoing PM Abhisit said discussion between both govts needed before troop withdrawal, and that this will happen under new govt. Cambodia PM Hun Sen 22 July proposed 3-party talks with Indonesia as mediator. Govt 12 July extended emergency law in southernmost provinces by 60 days. Suspected Muslim insurgents 27 July killed 2 police in southern Pattani province.
| 1 Jul 2011
Tensions increased ahead of 3 July general election: army chief Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha criticised for 14 June remarks widely seen as trying to discourage voting for opposition Pheu Thai Party (PTP), raised fears of military intervention in case of PTP victory. At least 4 local vote canvassers killed ahead of election; govt pledged to deploy 100,000 police to polling stations on election day. Ex-PM Thaksin 16 June said he “hopes” to return to Thailand for daughter’s wedding in Dec despite pending arrest warrant. Phnom Penh 11 June complained of “fabricated charges” after Thai police arrested 3, including 1 Cambodian, for spying. In South, suspected Islamic militants 16 June killed 4 soldiers in Pattani; 24 June killed 2, injured 13 in 3 bombings in Narathiwat province.
| 1 Jun 2011
PM Abhisit 10 May dissolved parliament, called general elections for 3 July. Fears of election violence fuelled 11 May when MP for opposition Pheu Thai Party injured in shooting outside Bangkok. Pheu Thai 16 May named Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of ex-PM Thaksin, as its PM candidate. At least 3 soldiers killed as clashes along Cambodian border continued 1-2 May; Abhisit met Cambodian PM Hun Sen at 8 May ASEAN summit, but Thailand continues to condition deployment of Indonesia observers on Cambodia first withdrawing all troops from disputed areas. In South, suspected militants 4 May killed 4 Muslim civilians in Yala province; 7 May killed 7 soldiers, 1 police officer in 2 separate bombings. 2 Buddhist monks killed 16 May by roadside bomb in Yala. Police 20 May killed 4 militants, including 1 allegedly senior leader, in Yala.
| 1 May 2011
Violence flared along Thai-Cambodian border late month: at least 14 soldiers, 1 civilian killed in clashes from 22 Apr, tens of thousands displaced on both sides; both sides agreed to ceasefire 28 Apr following military-led talks, but fighting broke out again 29 Apr leaving 1 soldier dead. UK-based NGO 6 Apr accused army of using cluster munitions in Feb clashes with Cambodia; army 7 Apr admitted using Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, but claimed it did not classify them as cluster munitions. Tens of thousands of anti-govt “red shirts” 10 Apr gathered to mark anniversary of deadly 2010 protests in Bangkok; Dept of Special Investigation said it would press charges against 18 “red shirt” leaders for anti-royalist remarks made during protest. PM Abhisit 26 Apr said border clashes with Cambodia will not delay elections to be held either 26 June or 3 July. National Security Council 11 Apr said Thailand intends to repatriate some 100,000 Burmese refugees back to Myanmar, did not specify timeframe. In South, govt 12 Apr extended emergency rule, in effect since 2005, for 3 months. 3 civilians, 1 suspected militant killed 9 Apr in separate incidents across Yala province; 1 ranger killed by car bomb 18 Apr in Yala.
| 1 Apr 2011
PM Abhisit 11 March said he will dissolve parliament in first week of May, elections likely early July. Some 30,000 anti-govt “red shirt” activists demonstrated in Bangkok 12 March. Parliament 19 March rejected no-confidence vote against Abhisit and 9 ministers. Thai army chief 23 March said Indonesian observers “not wanted” in disputed border region with Cambodia, despite Feb agreement. In southern Pattani province, gunmen 3 March killed 1 imam; 5 March killed 1 Buddhist monk. National Security Council SG 8 March said violence in south intensifying, insurgents focused on larger attacks.
| 1 Mar 2011
Hostilities broke out along Cambodian border near disputed Preah Vihear temple after Cambodian court sentenced 2 Thais to prison for espionage: at least 3 Thai, 5 Cambodian soldiers killed as forces exchanged fire 4-7 Feb. UNSC 14 Feb called for permanent ceasefire; both govts 22 Feb accepted Indonesian monitors in area following informal meeting of ASEAN FMs. In face of rising “yellow shirt” demonstrations calling for PM Abhisit’s resignation, govt 9 Feb invoked Internal Security Act in Bangkok, granting security forces more power to control protests. Deputy PM Suthep 17 Feb said general election will be held “before June”. In southern Pattani province, suspected Islamist militants 3 Feb killed 5 Buddhist villagers, 11 Feb killed 3; car bomb in Yala town 13 Feb injured 17.
| 1 Feb 2011
Govt commission investigating
Apr-May violence 24 Jan delayed report indefinitely, citing lack of cooperation
from police and military; echoed by Human Rights Watch 25 Jan. Some 30,000
anti-govt “red shirts” rallied in Bangkok
10 Jan, largest demonstration since May govt crackdown. Police 18 Jan arrested
“yellow shirt” leaders Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Somoboon Thongburan for
involvement in Dec 2008 seizure of Bangkok
airport, later released on bail. In south, some 50 suspected Muslim separatists
19 Jan killed 4 soldiers in attack on Narathiwat army camp; 1 killed in 22 Jan
Pattani province attack. Govt 18 Jan extended state of emergency in 3 southern
provinces for 3 months, except Pattani’s Mae Lan district where law lifted 28
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