Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Thailand’s Pro-Democracy Demonstrators Return to the Streets

Thai Prime Minister (PM) Chan-ocha escaped a vote of no confidence and demonstrators took to the streets.

Thailand is gripped by a political crisis.

The unpopular former military leader refuses to bow to a pro-democracy movement that is deeply dissatisfied with his seven-year leadership.

This anger has been exacerbated by an unprecedented economic crash since the 1997 financial crisis.

Protesters say the government’s handling of the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic has convinced them that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha should step down.

More than 12,000 Thais have died since April, and only 13 percent of Thailand’s population has received full vaccinations against COVID-19.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at the parliament building in Bangkok, Thailand, August 31, 2021.

Prayut defended his performance, and defeated a motion that would have removed him from the post of prime minister. This was held because many seats in parliament were occupied by allies from the royal military.

“Thailand was one of the first countries to be hit by this COVID storm. I reiterate to you that although Thailand may not be the best country in dealing with the pandemic, it is clear that we are not the worst,” Prayut said.

However, for these young protesters, the only way out is Prayut’s resignation.

They say Thailand needs a major overhaul of all of its political institutions to make it more equal and its people less oppressed.

This included restrictions on royal power, including the institution of royalty, an institution that had never been questioned before, but is now ruled by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is one of the richest monarchs in the world. Prayuth’s success in surviving this political fallout further infuriated his critics.

“Whether it’s inside or outside the parliament it makes no difference if they are in power. If they try to come to power like this, then parliament is not the answer, the only thing we can do is take to the streets,” said Baifern Benjama, a 19-year-old female anti-government activist.

A protester steps on a photo of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha during a rally outside the parliament building, in Bangkok, Thailand, February 20, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

A protester steps on a photo of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha during a rally outside the parliament building, in Bangkok, Thailand, February 20, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

Thousands of residents, Saturday (4/9), tried to demonstrate in front of the embassies, which are located in the commercial center of Bangkok. This is intended to embarrass the Thai government in front of the global community.

Some of the demonstrators believe that their struggle is now entering a new stage, and has the potential to be dangerous.

It gets even more dangerous when clashes with police occur almost every night.

“It’s no longer effective … you can try to reform every system, every institution, it’s not going to work. The only way is to take to the streets. Even non-violent measures will not work against this dictatorial regime. I can’t just sit and watch… I have to go down and protest, and everyone has to do it too,” said Billie, a 22-year-old female pro-democracy protester.

The situation is already simmering in Thailand.

The question now is how long the political stalemate between Prayut and the Thai people will last. [jm/my]

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Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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