The rally was called by a group who call themselves « bad students » and make fun of their status as rebels against traditional school rules and authorities / p>
Secondary school students in Thailand’s capital gathered on Saturday for educational and political reforms and defied government threats to take legal action against the country’s high-profile protest movement. The rally was convened by a group called « bad students » who ridicule their status as rebels against traditional school rules and authorities.
They reflected their light touch with protests and used props, including people in dinosaur suits and oversized beach balls that represented asteroids. Just as it is believed that an asteroid hitting Earth led to the extinction of dinosaurs, the old-fashioned members of the Thai establishment hindering change will face a collision with the country’s pro-democracy movement.
Although the Bad Students’ original goals were to abolish outdated regulations like dress codes and reform outdated curricula, they now also support the demands of the broader movement for democracy in Thailand seeking major political change. Saturday’s rally, held in one of Bangkok’s busiest shopping areas, drew at least 1. 000 people, many of whom were not secondary school students.
Namfon Jaruk, a 21-year-old student, said it was appropriate for protesters to discuss issues outside of education. « We’re not just students. We are citizens of this country too, « she said. « Students have the right to speak about politics and anything that needs to be discussed. « The rally came at the end of a week with two chaotic protests held by supporters of the democracy movement. Protesters gathered outside parliament on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to pass legislation to consider sweeping changes to the constitution, including sections on the rights and privileges of the monarchy.
Legislators agreed to consider changes, but not sections including the monarchy. The movement’s three core demands are the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the amendment of the Constitution to make it more democratic, and the reform of the monarchy to make it more accountable. The movement believes that the monarchy has too much power for a constitutional monarchy. Their challenge, however, is fiercely rejected by royalists, who view the royal institution as an inviolable foundation of national identity. The demonstrators’ efforts on Tuesday to force their way into the parliamentary grounds were pushed back by police using tear gas and water cannons that fired a mixture of chemical irritants.
At least 55 people were injured, including six with gunshot wounds. The police denied firing guns or rubber bullets. On Wednesday, several thousand protesters gathered outside the National Police Headquarters in central Bangkok to protest the violence used against protesters the night before. Wednesday’s rally was non-violent, although the demonstrators defaced the Royal Thai Police sign outside their headquarters and scribbled graffiti and slogans that could be seen as derogatory to King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Prime Minister Prayuth responded by stating that the protesters had gone too far and could now expect to be prosecuted for their illegal activities. While protest leaders have faced dozens of charges in the past few months, they have generally been released on bail and none have appeared on trial. On Friday, Prayuth made it clear that the government would also apply the Majesty’s Law, which provides for up to 15 years in prison for anyone who defames the king or his immediate family.
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