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Smartphone Whistle App Offers Alternative Tool For Thai Protesters

posted 18 Dec 2013, 01:39 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 18 Dec 2013, 01:40 ]

A Thai smartphone app developer comes up with "Whistle Thai" that allows anti-government protesters in Bangkok to produce a loud, virtual shrill if they grow tired from blowing their whistles at rallies.

BANGKOK, THAILAND (DECEMBER 17, 2013) (REUTERS) - The loud shrill of whistles have become the staple of anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok and some protesters have downloaded the "Whistle-Thai" app on their smartphones to add to the noise.

Tens of thousands of protesters have come out since the end of October in hopes of toppling Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her administration.

Armed with whistles, they have blocked streets and occupied several government offices with no end in sight to the rallies.

"Whistle-Thai" creator Nakrin Lerdnamwong developed the app at his tech start up company Innovation Plus hoping to aid the protesters in their demonstrations.

"In the beginning, it was only in Bangkok (where the application was being used.) And when we started to promote it, when it became known, it spread out to other provinces. Up until now, we have seen the application being downloaded and used worldwide," he said.

Nakrin is able to track where his app is being used on a map, but protesters who tried the app say it's not very effective.

"It's not loud. It's louder with this," said Boonchira Muongon, pointing to her whistle.

"When we blow the whistle, it's just like when we scream. It's a better feeling to actually scream or blow the whistle, this mobile phone app is not enough," added Chirapa Thanomthun.

Vendors who sell whistles on street curbs said it doesn't compare to the real thing.

"The virtual whistle is invisible. You can touch the real whistle, and it's louder as well, but we appreciate the initiative of the app," said Chetsada Boonprasert.

But Nakrin said his app is just another form of expression at the protests.

"It's not designed to be loud enough during the protests. But 'Whistle-Thai' is the alternative way of expression," he said.

Protesters said on Wednesday (December 18) they will step up their demonstrations in an attempt to force Yingluck from office and push through electoral reforms before a general election is held.

The number of protesters camped on the street in the capital has dwindled to around 2,000 over the past week but their leader, former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban, called for marches along main roads in central Bangkok on Thursday (December 19) and Friday (December 20), followed by a big rally on Sunday (December 22).

Suthep massed 160,000 protesters around Yingluck's office on December 9, when she called a snap election for February 2 to try to defuse the crisis. Yingluck remains caretaker prime minister.

Thailand's eight-year political conflict centres on Yingluck's older brother and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications tycoon popular among the rural poor because of cheap healthcare and other policies brought in while he was in power.

Even if the election takes place on February 2, its legitimacy could be undermined if the main opposition Democrat Party decides not to take part.

Democrat lawmakers resigned from parliament this month to march with Suthep, who was a deputy prime minister in Abhisit's government until 2011.

Suthep's programme remains vague and it is unclear how long it would take his proposed "people's council" to implement any reforms. His protest gained impetus in early November after Yingluck's government tried to push through a political amnesty bill that would have allowed Thaksin to return home a free man.


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