Thailand’s young protesters say they will be arrested as they try to overthrow the country’s powerful monarchy

Thailand's young protesters say they will be arrested as they try to overthrow the country's powerful monarchy

As tens of thousands of protesters cheered him on, Banusya went to a stage near the Grand Palace for the Sidijiravattangul Bangkok Ceremony, hoping he would not dare to do most of the Thais. He spoke out against the monarchy of the country.

A 21-year-old university student, nicknamed “Rang”, has become one of the faces of Thailand. Emerging student-led protest movement.

In front of a large screen, a third-year sociology student presented his image to the crowd and addressed the largest anti-establishment rally since the 2014 regime change, which saw Army General Prayut San-Ocha seize power.

“[We have] The same ideology, the same purpose, the same goals: Is it not right to end the Prayut regime and reform the monarchy? He said to loud applause and applause.

He is not trying to overthrow the monarchy, but believes it must be reformed.(Abby: Wason Vaniccorn)

Instead of fearing the harsh Les Majesty law of his country that would make it illegal to insult or insult the monarchy, Rang loudly and proudly declared his desire that the royal family should have less power in politics.

“I decided to talk because if we never talked about it, change would never happen,” Rang told ABC.

Despite this, Rang insists he did not insult the monarchy: “We do not want to overthrow the company. Our plan is reform, not revolution.”

A young woman surrounded by Thai police
Rang says Thailand needs to get out of the cycle of conspiracies and elections to move forward.(Reuters: Adith Peravongmeda)

Imprisonment for three to 15 years is possible for young activists under the Les Majesty Act.

Over the past two months several people have already been arrested and released on bail on protest-related charges under different law, and Rang says his time is coming.

“I do not know [will] He should definitely be arrested one day as an arrest warrant has been issued, ”he said.

“All I have to do is plan what I will do before and after the arrest, so that this movement can continue and not be stopped without me and the other leaders.”

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games will become anti-symbols

The student-led, anti-monarchy movement has been building several rallies for the first week of July.

People sitting in raincoats waving Thai flag at night with lights from smartphones
The student-led opposition has called for new elections and reform of the monarchy.(Abby: Wason Vaniccorn)

Leaders began with three demands: the dissolution of parliament, a change in the constitution and an end to the persecution of opposition activists.

After the king seized the throne in 2016, the palace needed amendments to a new constitution that gave him more emergency powers.

He has since taken personal control of several military units and billions of dollars worth of palace property.

“Thai politics is not developed, it just revolves around a circle. Conspiracy, election, conspiracy, election,” Rang said.

“If we want to have a good life, there has to be good politics. So we have to fix the problems.”

In August, the The group “Harry Potter Vs He Who Should Not Be Named” – held a protest The ban on talking about the Thai king Maha Vajiralongkorn with images of the villain Lord Voldemort is not a very subtle reference.

The Three Finger Salute of The Hunger Games has landed in demonstrations as a symbol of democracy.

Someone in a red hoodie and anonymous mask salutes with three fingers.
The three-finger salute of The Hunger Games has become a symbol of democracy during the Thai struggles.(ABC News)

In late August, the intricacies were replaced with unprecedented and highly public demands, including restricting the king’s powers over the constitution, politicians, the armed forces and public finances, and the abolition of the Les Majesty Act.

Rang, who took to the stage at a rally, was the first to read a 10-point statement describing them.

“The crowd cheered very loudly,” he said.

Within hours, Rang said, plain-dressed police officers followed him.

“They saw me from outside my dormitory and sometimes chased cars as I was leaving,” he said.

“They’ve been missing for a while, but they came back a few days ago.”

Old Thais was stunned by the ‘serious demands’ of the young protesters

The young activist said his parents were scared and worried.

“They said it would be nice if my movement was about government [but] He asked if I was not talking about the monarchy, “he said.

“I said I could not do it because it was the root cause of the problem. If we did not fix the monarchy, we could not fix the other problems. I have to mention it.”

A young mother holding a woman with three fingers
Rang says his parents have insisted he does not seek reform of the Thai monarchy.(Reuters: Adith Peravongmeda)

Some older generations support the cause of the students, said Kanograt Lertzuzakul, a political science lecturer at Sulangkorn University in Bangkok.

Others called for the “sacred, untouchable and loving institution” to be reformed.

“These demands were the most serious demands in Thai political history,” Dr. Lertzusakul said.

“[Older generations] We don’t dare talk about what we really think. Whether we love or hate anything, we have to keep it inside. It has been taught since we were little. “

The Royalists have risen up in support of the monarchy

Not everyone agrees with the young protesters.

The Thai monarchy has expressed its displeasure with what the protesters are saying and has rallied on their own.

At one of the largest events in August, about 1,200 members of the Thai faith group waved national flags and held portraits of the king.

A woman in a facemask follows: "Long live the king"
Thai royalists have been waging counter-protests in support of the constitutional monarchy and monarchy.(Reuters: George Silva)

Prominent politician Warong Dekitvikrom started the group because he said he felt the monarchy was under attack.

“The purpose of our group is to defend the monarchy with knowledge and facts,” Mr Dechitvigrom told Reuters.

“The monarchy has no role in governing the country. It is the moral support that unites the people.”

Thai Loyal has made three demands that the parliament should not be dissolved and that maximum legal action should be taken against anyone who seeks to overthrow the monarchy and that there would be no change in the constitution if it is not done through proper channels.

Everyone is waiting for King’s next move

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has said the king is not seeking any charges, although protesters have called for his arrest under the country’s lease law.

King Vajiralongkorn of Thailand walks in traditional white uniform during the parade.
The Prime Minister of Thailand says that he has not received any requests from the King (before).(Reuters: Adith Peravoknmeda)

On September 19, on the fees charged for protesting opposition leaders claimed that it is considering, but has not yet done so, they did not say what would be the charges.

Mr Prayut warned that Thailand would “sink into flames” if the split continued, but has so far allowed large rallies to move forward as free speech expression.

He said the demands for monarchical reform were not acceptable and that it was not the right time to discuss such issues.

“I hear you have political grievances and you have problems with the constitution and I respect your views,” the prime minister said.

“But right now, our country has a lot of painful problems that need to be addressed very quickly – this is the economic devastation caused by COVID-19.”

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About the Author: Will Smith

Alfred Lee covers public and private tech markets from New York. He was previously a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University, and prior to that was a reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal. He has received a Journalist of the Year award from the L.A. Press Club and an investigative reporting award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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