thailand

A week into the coup, army troops continue to be a highly visible presence on Chiang Mai's streets with bases set up at two of the main gates that ring the old city.  On Monday, security forces used the area to carry out highly visible anti-riot drills while tourists watched and took photos.  Chiang Mai's newest arrivals continue with their holidays much as before, haggling with tuk-tuk drivers and sauntering about the city in various states of undress though, according to locals, in increasingly smaller numbers. 

The coup in Thailand poses a threat to one of the country's most successful industries: tourism. There's no question the country is a major tourist destination. Visitors travel from around the world to see attractions such as the markets of Bangkok, the beaches of Phuket and Koh Samui and the forests and mountains of Chiang Mai. Monthly visitor numbers have fallen by about 400,000 - or roughly 16% - since the end of last year, coinciding with the escalation in protests.

Pad Chinese doesn't have the same ring to it, but it might be a bit more accurate. Pad Thai, the now-ubiquitous noodle dish made with chewy, stir-fried rice noodles, vegetables, bean sprouts, peanuts, and egg, among other things, is so popular it’s become the de facto measure by which Thai restaurants in New York, London, and other storefronts around the world are judged.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters marched through the streets of Thailand’s capital Saturday, reviving their whistle-blowing, traffic-blocking campaign to try to force the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

In Thailand, protesters are calling for the prime minister's resignation and street rallies have turned deadly. So how do journalists cover the anti-government protests, without running afoul of the government? Try Shallow News in Depth — an online parody newscast. The show uses sarcasm and slapstick comedy to comment on the current political situation. And while that may be old hat to American fans of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it is unusual for Thailand.

The administration of Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has faced protests since October 2013. The protesters claim the administration has bought votes, and these activists have vowed to disrupt polling stations. In a precursor to today's elections, a gun battle broke out in front a Lak Si District officer where anti-government protesters set up an encampment in front of a building holding election ballots.

The voice on the radio is calm, its message anything but. “Civil war is going to happen,” says the announcer on a station broadcast across the arid plateau around Khon Kaen, where rice paddies, cane fields and fishing-net factories form the geographic heart of the country’s red-shirt movement. It is now preparing to fight back if the government it supports, under caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, falls. “All sides, get ready,” the voice says. “We are ready to come together any time in the name of democracy.”

Thailand’s main opposition Democrat Party said Saturday that it would boycott February’s general election, deepening a weeks-long political crisis over protesters’ efforts to oust the government and force political reforms. The party’s leader, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, announced the boycott after a meeting of party executives. He said the decision was made in order to ensure that Thailand’s government will “represent the people once again.”

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