Global Politics

Protests in Thailand

We travel to the hometown of Thaksin Sinawatra. My guides takes us to the most famous restaurant in the hometown, the most famous one because it was Thaksin's favorite restaurant. The walls are covered with framed photos of the former prime minister. The 77 year old owner has known Thaksin since when he was a little boy. Thaksin is currently facing corruption charges and is in self-imposed exile in the U.K. The owner says his image is not tarnished. For many people here, Thaksin was the first prime minister who seemed to care about the rural people in northern Thailand, and the first who passed rules with tangible effects on their lives. in this food market, one shopper says Thaksin's policies changed her life. Thaksin set aside around $2,500 U.S. dollars for every Thai village to start a fund, and provided low-cost loans to farmers and small business owners. Thaksin also introduced a $1 health care scheme which gave access to low-cost health care. Public opinion polls show around 70% of Thais don't support the current anti-government protests and the pro-Thaksin party won by far the most votes in the election last year. Its base is here in northern Thailand. this man says democratic movements should be respected in Thailand. the opposition has said that the poor rural populations are too poorly educated to elect a parliament.

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