Students march for Thailand’s poor, calls for Universal Basic Income

The Student Union of Thailand submitted an open letter on Thursday to the Ministry of Finance demanding a universal aid program to help Thais afflicted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The union along with 27 other university student unions demanded assistance to all Thais, 18 years and over, to receive aid of at least 3,000 baht per month for three months.

“We students hope to be a voice for everyone that is waiting in the heat in front of the Ministry of Finance” said Parit Chiwaak, a student activist.

“The people that pay tax to this country are the owners of this country, we all should receive aid.”

The students say that the government is providing aid selectively and the aid is not accessible to everyone.

The students said that there are 40.8 million Thais eligible for such a program. This would cost around 4.5 billion baht, not that much when compared with the government’s more frivolous expenditures.

Online Protests

This is not the first time that students and Thailand’s youth have petitioned the government.

Using the hashtag #Mobfromhome, the Student Union of Thailand started an online protest by posting photos of themselves with signs of their grievances against the government over the past month.

The online movement is the continuation of protests that took place towards the end of February and on campuses across the nation following the dissolution of the Future Forward Party.

The protests, however, were brought to a halt due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The students are calling for the removal of the senate which was not democratically elected but appointed by the previous junta.

The protests sparked criticism from senator member Saeri Suwanpanon, who said, “It is understandable that the students are trying to be similar to the movements of 1973 and 1976. But the context has changed and coming out to criticize the government is not reasonable”.

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