MARY SANDRINE BERNOS WRITES — The Thailand protests are caused by three things: resignation of the prime minister, rewriting of the military-drafter constitution, and reform of the monarchy’s absolute power. Citizens of Thailand are angered at the fact that their current prime minister was still appointed despite causing a military coup in 2014, and having great bias towards the military junta. The incompetency of the current king of Thailand exasperates many citizens as well, especially the youth. King Maha Vajiralongkorn is known for being corrupt and being a ladies’ man—he preceded his late father, who was highly respected in the country and known as the world’s longest-reigning monarch. Furthermore, youth activists despise King Maha because he resides in Germany and is unable to completely devote his time to serving his country and his people.
The call for removal of Prime Minister Chan-ocha was led by student activists, opposing political parties, and other organizations. Despite the global pandemic, Thai citizens’ long desire for structural reform became a motivation for the mass gathering and demonstrations to the royal convoy, as well as outside of the German embassy. However, Thailand’s government still refuses to acknowledge this and continues to perpetuate power grabbing and incompetency of its current leaders, heavily affecting its economy and its citizens’ well-beings.
The people of Thailand have always kept their mouths shut about concerns regarding their parliament and royal family due to fear of being arrested and harassed—but today, this attitude has completely changed. They’ve all found courage and voice to dissent towards the existing monarchy and fight for military and structural reform. This alone proves that the nation of Thailand is one step closer to achieving democracy and a just judicial and executive system.
The last truly elected-by-the-people leader of Thailand was Yingluck Shinawatra. The political party she led garnered more seats in parliament than any in the country’s on-and-off flirtation with honest democracy. Yingluck also had the distinction of being the first Thai woman prime minister. She was removed by the country’s anti-democratic elite in 2014.