US ‘deeply troubled’ by poll blockades

The US is "deeply troubled" by anti-government protests that blocked advance general election voting on Sunday, according to a statement from the Department of State.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted that the US takes no sides in Thailand's ongoing political dispute.

She said that the US strongly supports freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest, but said preventing citizens from voting violates their universal rights and is inconsistent with democratic values.

Ms Psaki reiterated a call for all sides of the political divide to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and commit to sincere dialogue to resolve their differences peacefully and democratically.

The US stopped short of issuing a further travel alert to its citizens. Its latest notice was put out on Jan 21 after the government imposed a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The Department of State is urging US citizens to avoid all protests, demonstrations and large gatherings.

Anti-government protests that blocked advance general election voting were meanwhile met with defiance by some. A clip published on YouTube by a user known as "wealthy" shows "a strong auntie" trying to pass protesters to get to a polling unit.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 28/01/2014 at 04:26 AM
"but said preventing citizens from voting violates their universal rights and is inconsistent with democratic values." Suthep is disappointed with this reply.
Discussion 2 : 28/01/2014 at 12:14 AM
I understand that is difficult for everyone who is pro-PDRC to grasp this. Just try to listen to what the US has to say about the right to vote instead of just deny the truth.
Discussion 3 : 27/01/2014 at 11:40 PM
What on earth makes Thai so special? Every country in the World has its pardoning program to give pardon to those request for official pardon. Some monarchies, presidents are given power of prerogative in order for them to give pardon to prisoner and death rows. If a government wanted to request for the right through constitution is nothing more than a piece of biscuit. If not being allowed, the amnesty bill was scrapped, then what is it to make repetition again and again? Why we should hate a person for so long and deep? Is that right? I don't support Suthep. Do I hate him? Nil. Not at all I would hate him although I don't like him. Can
Discussion 4 : 27/01/2014 at 11:10 PM
The less the US Government says, the better the Relationship between these 2 countries.
Discussion 5 : 27/01/2014 at 09:06 PM
Really? Deeply troubled? As a US citizen living here, I am deeply troubled that the US does not have a better grasp on what is really happening here. The PM attempted to introduce an amnesty bill that would allow her corrupt brother to return to Thailand a free man. The PM herself is being investigated for her role in the rice payment scheme that victimized poor farmers. The Thai legal system has ruled that the Feb. 2 election can be moved to a date that will ensure the greatest participation. The government is censoring the press! The US should be troubled by this, if nothing else. Like or hate him, at least Mr. Suthep is doing something!
Discussion 6 : 27/01/2014 at 08:57 PM
America, worry about your own problems, your country is about to collapse. Nobody gives a toss about what you have to say.
Discussion 7 : 27/01/2014 at 08:23 PM
I think the US should express concern about the growing number of protestors who are being murdered by pro-government forces in what are increasingly looking like organised hits and, more seriously, the complete lack of any visible attempt to catch these murderers by the police.
Discussion 8 : 27/01/2014 at 07:20 PM
The US, with their bought and paid for politicians (by Special Interest groups), should clean their own house before dishing out advice. wan is dead on, this is merely pandering on their part. Too bad they haven't figured out Thailand will never cut ties with China and are just playing Washington for whatever they can get.
Discussion 9 : 27/01/2014 at 06:03 PM
Wan,I come from the oldest democracy in the world,Great Britain and all my life I have upheld and fought for my democratic beliefs as my forefathers fought 2 world wars in the 20 century to preserve those democratic rights. Whilst I might exercise my democratic right to put forward my opinion of the Thai political situation I would never actively get involved as that would go against my democratic beliefs that only the people of the nation seeking democracy have the birth right to get involved. All we can do is observe and advise.
Discussion 10 : 27/01/2014 at 05:37 PM
Is is about time for the US to take care of their own corrupt government. Do we need more Somwden?
Discussion 11 : 27/01/2014 at 05:32 PM
US stopped short of questioning if the result of a boycotted election would be truly representative of the people. Silly.
Discussion 12 : 27/01/2014 at 05:25 PM
After watching the you-tube clip, I admire the strong aunty. I have strong despite upon these people who intimidated her.
Discussion 13 : 27/01/2014 at 05:17 PM
This is probably one of the few issues involving Asia where China has adopted a position similar to that of the U.S. Its not just the U.S. The world is watching.

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