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Thailand News: TV stations occupied, fears of clashes rise; July 20 poll in doubt; Sacred oxen predict a good year

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Thailand News: TV stations occupied, fears of clashes rise; July 20 poll in doubt; Sacred oxen predict a good year | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

‘Final fight’ to bring down govt
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Anti-government protesters yesterday began their “final fight” to topple the embattled government by occupying the country’s five major television stations and other key locations, amid mounting fears of street clashes between rival political groups.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban announced that the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) aimed to change the government peacefully within three days. He told supporters this was possible “if we all cooperate. But if within three days we have not got rid of this regime, then we will do what is necessary.”

The government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) warned of possible attacks at night against the protesters occupying the different locations.

“A group of people with ill intentions will attack those participating in the protests at different locations. The public are advised to use discretion when participating in such gatherings for your own safety,” CAPO said in a statement.

CAPO also threatened to take legal action against the executives of any TV stations that agreed to follow requests by the PDRC, such as broadcasting its statements or stopping broadcasts of CAPO announcements.

Suthep, who is the PDRC secretary-general, yesterday led a group of protesters to rally outside Government House, and he planned to stay there overnight in an attempt to force the Cabinet to resign.

He requested a meeting with Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, who became acting prime minister after the Constitutional Court ousted Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday for abuse of power in connection with the 2011 removal of National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri.

“If you find [Cabinet members], bring them to me. I wish to speak to them. I will be waiting at Government House,” Suthep said.

He also urged respectable people in the country, such as the Supreme Court president, the Senate Speaker and election commissioners, to hold discussions on a way out for the country.

“If you can’t find a solution in three days, I and my supporters will use our own ways to end this crisis,” he said.

Thousands of protesters from the PDRC and its allied groups gathered at the five major free-to-air TV stations – Channels 3, 5, 7, 9 and the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand – Government House, Parliament House, and CAPO headquarters.

The protesters called on the TV stations to broadcast statements from the PDRC, not to broadcast messages from the government or CAPO, and allow them to stay at the stations for three to five days. Channels 3, 5, 7 and 9 later agreed to the PDRC’s requests, according to Satit Wongnongtaey, who is a PDRC leader. In response, the Thai Journalists Association and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association issued a joint statement calling on the PDRC to vacate the stations and stop pressuring staff.

Suthep earlier yesterday issued this message to the TV stations during his rally address: “We ask you to stop broadcasting news of this dictatorial government. We won’t interfere with your normal schedule, but when we need to broadcast statements, we want you to cooperate.” At Parliament House, Suthep met with Deputy Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlert-chai, in his capacity as the acting Speaker, and asked him and other senators to help find a “solution” for the country.

Surachai said before meeting with Suthep he would speak with independent agencies in a bid to settle the political crisis. He said the Senate might need to discuss the matter informally.

Meanwhile, red-shirt supporters of the ruling Pheu Thai Party were preparing for a large rally starting today in support of the government.

Red-shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana said he would lead more than 1,000 people from the Northeast to join the rally on Aksa Road in Nakhon Pathom province.

“We are angry and we are ready to fight,” he said.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva expressed concern that the confrontation between the pro- and anti-government groups could lead to violence. He added, however, that the government was incapable of dealing with the problem – pointing to recent bomb attacks targeting many locations, including the house of a Constitutional Court judge who ruled against Yingluck.

Red shirts protest court ruling
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Pro-government red shirts in a number of provinces burnt coffins in a symbolic gesture yesterday aimed at Constitutional Court judges who ruled on Wednesday to remove caretaker prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office.

Red shirts will meet today at Aksa Road in Nakhon Pathom in what is expected to be a mass gathering.

Provincial red-shirt leaders said they would resort to all means possible to defend the administration.

Udon Thani red-shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana said 1,000 red shirts from Udon Thani with 100 trained red guards from the Democracy Protection Volunteers would come to Aksa Road. The protesters would stay till Wednesday and would not march anywhere.

Apichart Inson (aka DJ Uan), a leader of the red shirt’s Rak Chiang Mai 51, said red shirts from the North were mobilising in tandem with red shirts in other provinces and had gathered at provincial halls including at Lampang and Kamphaeng Phet to burn coffins.

He said letters of protest were sent to provincial governors to show the world that the red shirts rejected the court’s ruling against the prime minister, who was elected by millions and that people shall rise to fight for a just society.

“Chiang Mai red shirts have joined reds from Kamphaeng Phet It doesn’t matter which group or which province we’re from We shall fight together,” he added.

Apichart claimed that a million red shirts were expected to converge at Aksa Road today and people would see if there were more reds or more supporters of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

He said PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban had said earlier that the side with the smaller number of supporters would retreat.

In Khon Kaen, some 50 red shirts gathered to burn coffins with pictures of the Constitutional Court judges attached.

A declaration was also read before they prepared to travel to Aksa Road. Similar scenes took place at Ang Thong, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Amnat Charoen and Uthai Thani.

Monk-led rally hit with water cannon, tear gas
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Police fired tear gas and sprayed a water cannon at monk Phra Buddha Issara, a leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), and his followers yesterday after they tried to trespass into the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO).

The monk, in response, vowed to file three complaints at Thung Song Hong police station today against officers for attempted murder, violating his constitutional rights to freedom of assembly, and “unjustly” carrying out their duty.

The incident occurred after Phra Buddha Issara led a group of PDRC protesters on 10 buses wi

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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7 Thai dogs find a new home in California

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7 Thai dogs find a new home in California | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai dogs are always looking for loving homes.

7 stray dogs from Thailand have immigrated to the United States as one California woman attempts to rescue as many Thai dogs as possible. Melissa Bacelar is the owner of The Wagmor Luxury Pet Hotel and Spa, along with its offshoot pet adoption service, Wagmore Pets. Located in Studio City, a neighbourhood in Los Angeles bordering Hollywood, the pet hotel just checked in the 7 Thai dogs.

They were street rescues that the Soi Dog Foundation helped prepare for their move to America. Soi Dog Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping stray dogs and cats, is based in Phuket and operating throughout Thailand. They have recently been hosting vaccination and neutering on Koh Samui.

Following 2 days of air travel across the world, the dogs are settling into their new country, safely landed in Los Angeles. Melissa has a passion for rescuing dogs from Thailand because of the tough life they lead here, and the tragic end many face. Some die on the streets, others are poisoned or bludgeoned when they become burdensome to people in the area, while others are slaughtered and sold for meat.

“The dogs on the street often end up in different meat markets in the area; they’re just dying on the streets. So it’s important to get them out of there and find them homes.”

These 7 dogs have escaped that dark fate and have been rescued, rehabilitated, trained and vaccinated by the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand. Melissa is hopeful that they will find new homes easily as they are fully prepared and ready for adoption. The Thai dogs are surely looking forward to starting their new lives as American dog citizens.

SOURCE: MSN

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Chon Buri: 141 new Covid-19 infections, 54 linked to nightlife

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Chon Buri: 141 new Covid-19 infections, 54 linked to nightlife | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Clubs are spreading Covid-19 in Chon Buri and throughout Thailand

Chon Buri now has 264 confirmed Covid-19 infections this month after the Chon Buri Public Health Department announced that today brought 141 new infections. Many of the new cases stem from exposure from evening entertainment venues. 54 of the new cases are from an outbreak cluster at the Flintstones Pub in Mueang Chon Buri, bringing the total number of Coronavirus cases linked to that one pub to 90. Other infections were found in Chon Buri area venues including Class 99 Pub, Bone Pattaya, Na Pa, Symphony Pub, plus cases from nightclubs in Bangkok and Samut Prakan. 5 of the infected people were actually from other provinces who came to Chon Buri for treatment, while over 60 cases are still being investigated to determine their source.

The infections that were identified locally are:

  • 53 in Mueang Chonburi
  • 30 in Banglamung
  • 8 in Si Racha
  • 7 in Panthong
  • 4 in Panat Nikhom
  • 3 in Ban Bueng
  • 1 in Nongyai
  • 6 from other provinces

Another 2,410 tests have been administered from contact tracing the infections, but results have not been announced yet. Some are suspected to be infected, while others are just proactive cautionary testing for people who may have been exposed in or around the entertainment venues listed above. While the Thai government has shut down all bars and nightclubs in 41 provinces including Chon Buri, local officials are also reminding people to follow Covid-19 precautions. They are requesting everyone in Chon Buri wear masks, maintain social distancing, and avoid crowded places. Officials want to avoid a panic, but do want people to be vigilant to prevent an even bigger outbreak.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Nightlife plays major role in Covid-19 third wave

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Nightlife plays major role in Covid-19 third wave | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Krystal Club Thonglor25 is one of many high-end clubs where Covid-19 spread

The current surge in Covid-19 infections now looks to be spread in large part by Thailand’s colourful nightlife, with more than 500 people contracting the more contagious UK variant (B117) of the Coronavirus. The government responded by closing all bars and entertainment venues in 41 provinces, but it may be too late to prevent a third wave of the pandemic. Many people now are critical, pointing to the first and second wave as harbingers of how the party nightlife can so easily transmit Covid-19.

At the beginning of the pandemic, partiers in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area began testing positive for Covid-19 last March. The Public Health Ministry instructed everyone to follow safety measures to prevent a big outbreak. The area is well known to be a hotspot for Bangkok’s wealthy elite and powerful with its multitude of high-end luxury clubs and bars.

A normal night has thousands of people roaming the streets into the late hours of the evening. But after infections started spreading, all nightlife was closed until July when Thailand overall had gained some control and contained the Coronavirus more successfully than most countries. In fact, it would be months before any new infections were diagnosed in the area.

While it’s commonly known that the next wave of Covid-19 in Thailand started mainly from migrant workers and low wage market workers, even the second round of infections was proliferated by people enjoying the nightlife around Thailand. There was a case of a woman in the North who went to several bars before knowing that she had contracted the virus in January, and, when the details of her bar-hopping were released, many customers of a bar she attended in Chiang Mai had already contracted Covid-19 as well. Meanwhile, in Bangkok, Techin “DJ Matoom” Ploypetch held a lavish all-night party in a luxury hotel in January. Facing criminal charges for violating Covid-19 restrictions, he has recovered from the virus himself but the party became a spreader event. None of these nightlife outbreaks stopped people from pouring back into the club scene as soon as it reopened in February.

Now Thailand is facing a massive shutdown with the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 inescapable. One major factor in the rapidly spreading infections is trendy evening entertainment venues around Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya among other areas. A 35-year-old man who contracted Covid-19 reported he had been partying in Thong Lor the month before. Testing clubgoers from bars and entertainment venues in the area revealed an outbreak of Covid-19 infections.

Krystal Club Thonglor25 gained attention as powerful politicians and the wealthy elite that frequent the club so often it’s nicknamed “Government House 2”. 1/3 of Thailand’s cabinet ministers are currently self-isolating and it was rumoured that the Transport Minister had gotten C0vid-19 from visiting the infamous Krystal Club, though rumours were later dispelled.

But growing anger has emerged towards the upscale party-going set, with the hashtag #thonglorpub trending across social media since Wednesday, and many people complaining as the country closes down entertainment venues for the next two weeks and maybe facing further lockdown procedures.

The bar and club scene is a hotspot for Covid clusters since social distancing and mask-wearing are rarely enforced, in poorly ventilated rooms with throngs of tightly packed people. A list has emerged of high society hot spots where anyone in attendance in the past few weeks is being requested to get Covid-19 tests right away after customers at each has tested positive for covid.

  • Krystal Club Thonglor25
  • Bar Bar Bar,
  • Ekamai Beer House,
  • Emerald Thonglor13
  • Dirty Bar
  • Bottoms up Thonglor
  • AINU Hokkaido lzakaya & Bar
  • the Cassette Music Bar Ekamai
  • 63 Music House Ekamai

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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