Are Student Protests in Thailand the Tipping Point for Change?
On Wednesday 2nd of September, Emilie Pradichit, Founder & Director of Manushya Foundation, was invited to take part in the Al Jazeera show "The Stream" with guests Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies - Kyoto University and Teirra Kamolvattanavith, multimedia journalist. During the live, they shared their thoughts on the crucial role youth protests are playing in bringing change to Thailand.
Indeed, a pro-democracy movement has been sweeping Thailand, and young people are leading the charge. Since July near-daily demonstrations have taken place, with protesters becoming increasingly fed up over the political order and what they say is a symbiotic relationship between the monarch, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and the military. Their demands include the removal of prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the dissolving of parliament, new elections and less political power within the monarchy.
Tensions reached a boiling point in February when the highest court disbanded the country’s Future Forward Party, known for its progressive platform and open criticism of the monarchy, an act that is unlawful in Thailand and punishable with imprisonment. The party won a record number of parliament seats during elections held in March 2019. The government has attempted to silence critics by arresting some of the most prominent faces of the pro-democracy movement.
On this episode, Emilie insisted on Young People’s call for a real democracy grounded on human rights, equality and justice. Their call for an end to inequalities and injustice, end of the establishment, and privileges benefiting only 1% of the country cannot be ignored. Constitutional reforms are necessary to curb the Monarchy’s power, and to let Young people decide the future they want for their country.
Take a look at Emilie's comments below:
Emilie responding to one of the root causes for Youth-led protests: mismanagement of COViD-19 and discrimination. The protests are denouncing the Emergency Decree enacted under COVID-19, as it grants excessive power to the military-backed government, misusing it to crackdown on students and to further put the most marginalized in situation of poverty.
Emilie insisting on Youth’s call for a real democracy, grounded on human rights, equality and justice. Their call to an end to inequalities and injustice, and end to the establishment and privilege benefiting only 1% of the country cannot be ignored.
To end the discussion, Emilie paid tribute to Young Students in Thailand: “They will succeed! They are young, organized, smart and fearless!”
Watch the full video here: