Politics

Thailand: three fingers against the king

Rama X. does not think about de-escalation. On the contrary, this week a state of emergency was declared, gatherings of more than five people were banned, and the distribution of online messages that “create fear”, harm national security or damage public morals were banned.

The protest movement does not want to be intimidated. She is young and creative. For months, students and workers have been taking to the streets for democracy, against the king and for an end to the military dictatorship. “The style of the demonstrations is new, nothing like it has happened before,” says Kevin Hewison, Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies at the University of Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

Human rights activist Anon Nampa, one of the most famous faces of the movement who has been arrested again and again, says: “We have swept the issue under the carpet for many years”. But today many have burning questions about the powers of the monarchy. It is not about abolishing it, but about not giving it ever more power. The protesters are demanding “better politics” and less power to the king.

Rama X. is supported by the incumbent military government. The resignation of the former coup general and current head of government Prayuth Chan-ocha is considered unlikely. One solution would be new elections.

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