Student protesters in Thailand demand majorly 3 things:
Resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha
Changes to a constitution drafted under military rule
Reforms to the constitutional monarchy
Bunkueanun Paothong who is among those at the front of Thailand’s growing pro-democracy movement pushing for political reforms said that he was 7 when he first saw military coup. He was 15 during the second now he is 21. He said “I took a stand I know that would be risky, I stand firm in my principles and beliefs. Because it’s the right thing for me to do.” And because of these he has been charged with crimes which could lead him to jail for rest of his lives.
The student campaign which began this year has shaken Thailand’s ruling establishment with significant political changes. Students in the campaign were fed up with the old educational system and the military who keep control on them.
Political protest is not new in Thailand, and its past 15 years have defined it. Whether it was the red-shirted supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra or his yellow-shirted conservative opponents, some group could be counted on every few years to seize an airport, occupying a government building or block roads to make the government fall.
But the protesters never made such open calls for the reform of the monarchy in a country where reverence for the royal institution is inculcated from birth and protected by a law.
The students, already upset as they saw an undemocratic constitution that shifted power away from elected politicians to appointed bodies aligned with the military, forced them to come to streets. What motivated the student protesters is that they saw the ‘game’ of politics as being fixed.
The current movement, led by a handful of university students, has also attracted young students who have become politicized through more news and information from the internet and social media, and agitated by how their teachers and school administrators suppress individual character and exercise authoritarian policies that control dress code, haircuts, gender choice, and ceremonies that are seen as originating from ancient era.
Hundreds Thai royalists staged a rally in central Bangkok on Tuesday i.e. Oct 27, with eager to display their loyalty to the country’s king as the protests against the king is growing in the country. The rally of students was highly publicized on social media, but around 300 people i.e. a small fraction of the thousands of anti-government protesters, almost all of the royalists wore yellow shirts, which symbolize devotion to the monarchy.