Asia has witnessed crowd protests in at least three countries in recent months. Here’s a look at how the various protests unfolded.
THAILAND PROTESTS (Oct 31, 2013 - May 20, 2014)
Scale:Several hundred thousand people participated in the protests at its peak. As many as 30 people died and hundreds more were wounded.
Cause: The then Puea Thai government tried to pass a Bill in 2013 that would grant amnesty to self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives abroad to evade a jail sentence for corruption. The momentum against the Bill later grew into a wider anti-government campaign led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee.
Outcome:In face of the political deadlock, the Thai military declared martial law and established a military command. Within days, however, the military staged a coup and overthrew the caretaker government headed by Mr Thaksin’s Puea Thai party. Two months later army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha was appointed prime minister
People involved:Former deputy prime minister and Democrat lawmaker Suthep Thaugsuban headed the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee. They were supported by royalists, elite establishment and urban middle class long opposed to the dominance of Thaksin-backed political parties.
TAIWAN PROTESTS (March 18, 2014 - April 10, 2014)
Scale: Hundreds of protesters participated. Some were injured after clashes with police. No one died.
Cause: The trigger was a service trade agreement between Taiwan and China, which was signed in June 2013 and was rammed through the legislature in March 2014. Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan (Lower House of Parliament) passed the agreement after a 30-second review and without any deliberations. The next day it was passed by the Executive Yuan (Upper House). Protesters, angered over the pact which they thought would make Taiwan vulnerable to pressures from Beijing, occupied the Legislature building.
People involved: A coalition of student and civic groups was involved in the protests, including student leaders Lin Fei-fan and Che Wei-ting. Outcome:Students decided to leave the Legislative Yuan after Speaker Wang Jin-pyng promised that he would not preside over any debate on the bill until a law was passed to create an oversight mechanism over all deals with China.
HONG KONG PROTESTS (Sept 2014 - )
Scale:Tens of thousands took part. Fewer than a hundred were injured and no one died.
Cause:China’s legislature determined in August that candidates vying for post of chief executive in 2017 would first need to be vetted by a nominating committee. Pro-democracy activists want such interference to be done away.
Outcome:Uncertain: The Hong Kong government and student protest leaders are due for talks but the latter has suspended them, accusing the government of not stopping “organised attacks” on its supporters.
People involved:Among those involved are the Hong Kong Federation of Students and a student group called Scholarism led by 17-year-old Joshua Wong. It also includes Occupy Central, a civil disobedience campaign led by law associate professor Benny Tai from the University of Hong Kong.