This week the Thai government confirmed that general elections scheduled for Sunday, February 2, will be held, despite warnings from the Election Commission that national voting could lead to an escalation of recent violence. More than two months of anti-government protests have resulted in 10 deaths, more than 500 injured, and the declaration of a 60-day state of emergency for Bangkok and surrounding provinces that began on January 22nd. In last Sunday’s advance voting, one protest leader was killed by gunfire, and at least 48 out of 50 Bangkok polling places were blocked by protestors.
All Presbyterian Church (USA) mission co-workers in Thailand are safe, and they continue to work with our primary mission partner, the Church of Christ in Thailand.
The current political turmoil in Thailand was sparked by a failed attempt of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party to pass an amnesty bill that, according to critics, could have allowed the prime minister’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, to return to Thailand from exile in Dubai without serving a prison term for corruption charges. After the PM called for new elections to be held in February, the primary opposition party, People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), declared that it would boycott the elections. Thus, the political brinkmanship and current stalemate are expected to continue after the elections.
The PC (USA) asks for your prayers for lasting peace, structural justice, and non-violent methods of political engagement for all people in Thailand. Please pray for our partner, the Church of Christ in Thailand, our ecumenical Christian mission partners, and our PC (USA) mission co-workers in Thailand as they seek to demonstrate the love and hope of Jesus Christ with their neighbors.