Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Thai people put aside political divide to celebrate Songkran festival

songkran-m Thais celebrate the Songkran festival as their traditional New Year's Day from April 13-15. (AP)
By: Press Trust of India | Bangkok | Posted: April 13, 2014 3:59 pm

Putting aside the political divide plaguing the country, Thai people on Sunday celebrated Songkran festival, splashing buckets of water on each other heralding the arrival of spring.

Songkran is like Holi but instead of colours, the Thais use talcum powder mixed in water with ice in it. On Monday, they will celebrate New Year according to the Thai lunar calendar.

Thais celebrate the Songkran festival as their traditional New Year’s Day from April 13-15.

A local poll said, caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban were the two politicians that the Thais would most like to have a water fight with during Songkran.

Asked if the political conflict would affect the Songkran Festival, 65 per cent of the respondents said it would,including affecting the general atmosphere, people’s mentality and feeling of safety as well as the economy, while 35 per cent said it would not.

Meanwhile, 63 people were killed and 491 injured in 471 accidents on Saturday, the second of the “seven dangerous days” (April 11-17) during the Songkran festival, according to the road accidents prevention and reduction centre of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Saturday’s figures added up the numbers of people killed and injured in the first two days, April 11-12, of the seven dangerous days to 102 killed and 893 injured in 850 accidents.

Major causes of accidents are drunk driving and speeding.

Thailand has been in political turmoil since anti-government protests began in November. The protesters accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.

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