Young People Advocate for Democracy and Justice in Thailand

Posted: June 26, 2015 in Thailand, ThaiSouth
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thai students, from high school to universities, have shown tremendous courage under martial law and subsequently under the interim constitution of the junta.

I recall my first story, on Global Voices, of a teenager, Nattanan Warintarawet, who protested against coup-leader General Prayuth’s 12 core values at the Ministry of Education. She led a small group of young people, braving the backlash, and even now continues to voice the concerns of her peers.

More young people spoke out, against an institution that sought to “reform” a country torn by political distrusts and decades of inequality. Despite the threats of repression, forced rehabilitation, detention, arrests and social stigmatization, many surge forth to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. Many protest in the form of flash mobs, which may not command the numbers of thousands, but effective in leaving a mark for others to contemplate about their suppressed rights or feel enraged at having none.

Student activism in Thailand / Art work by AKRockefeller

Student activism in Thailand / Art work by AKRockefeller

Students from the south, a conflict-torn area, are also affected by the presence of the junta. Though many feel their concerns on the lack of social justice has been around for over a decade, even before the coups of 2006 and 2014. Yet many now, brave the conflicts and the rampant crackdowns to call for positive change and liberty. Many student movements, such as PERMAS and its affiliates, demand for their right to self-determination and peace.

And recently, young people marched, rallied and stood in solidarity against injustices. They call for their right to mobilization towards a democracy that they desperately seek in their lifetime.

Obvious indicators show that they are rallying in small groups, with multi-dimensional goals, but all are demanding for a democratic process, one that we adults, sometimes, take for granted.  Despite the heavy military presence, the hordes of policemen, and the threats of detention, young Thais surge forth to claim what is rightfully theirs: Leadership, by young people for their communities.

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